12-year-old Lindsay Ratcliffe has a rare genetic disease called progeria that ages people eight to ten times faster than normal.
Douglas met Lindsay at Relentless, a power lifting event sponsored by ‘HopeKids’ to benefit children with rare diseases.
He remembers their first meeting when she came running towards him. "She gave me a little bracelet to wear that she made for me. She went on to tell me that she watched all my videos on YouTube, and she was a fan," he says. "That humbled me. Someone in her position, going through so much stuff to have time to look at my stuff on YouTube."
Ther was no looking back- the two became the best of friends and he calls her his ‘lil sis.’
The feeling of love is mutual. Lindsay flew out to California when she heard Douglas was undergoing surgery for a torn bicep.
He was a marine who began lifting weights as a way to relieve stress but he was so good at it his gunnery sergeant invited him to participate in one of the weight-lifting competitions between military bases. There was no looking back. His de-stressing ritual soon became a passion that grew in to a lifestyle and ‘The Beast’ was born.
But The Beast has a heart of gold- Lindsay isn’t the only little one he calls a friend- though no one else may be as special to him.
He is the favorite of many kids with special needs and he is never too busy for them.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters