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From Covid-19 Coma to Running a Half Marathon: Vincent Li’s Path Back to Health

Vincent Li, Striking Coach at GFTeam Canada

We wanted to share an inspirational story of one of our coaches at GFTeam Canada who comes to us from Flow Martial Arts last year along with the awesome Shayne and Michelle (Karate and Kickboxing) from Superior MMA. His name is coach Vincent Li and he’s been a shining example of facing adversity and coming out on top. Vincent made the news July 2020 for being one of the youngest people put on a ventilator near the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though he had taken precautions to protect himself, he contracted the virus and was ultimately put into a chemically induced coma while being treated by the incredible staff at Royal Columbian Hospital.

Vincent recovered and has been fighting back since getting out of the hospital August 2020. Incredibly, just nine months later, he ran the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon two days ago, on May 10th, 2021.

Vincent Li, GFTeam Canada Striking Coach

“On March 23, Vincent Li headed to the emergency room at Burnaby Hospital after days of fighting a fever that had crept into the low 40s. Hours later, the 26-year-old was in a medically induced coma on his way to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., one of the province’s primary COVID-19 care centres.

“I didn’t have a chance to tell anybody,” Li said months later in an interview with the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. “My mom was outside at the waiting area in the ER, and social workers called her.” X-rays revealed that water had filled Li’s lungs, and his blood-oxygen level was dangerously low.

Doctors told Li he would only be under for a few days. Instead, the personal trainer and competitive mixed martial artist woke up weeks later, his muscles severely atrophied. Li is the youngest COVID-positive patient to be placed on a ventilator in Royal Columbian’s intensive care unit.”

excerpt from CBC.CA – Article “‘I thought I would be safe,’ says personal trainer who spent weeks in coma due to COVID-19”

After recovering at Royal Columbian Hospital, he began his climb back to health to regain what was lost and strengthen himself through dedicated exercise and healthy habits throughout the pandemic. Vincent doubled down on his commitment to a healthy lifestyle, training hard and re-strengthening his body. While others dealt with the stress of the lockdowns and pandemic in various ways, Vincent committed himself to working out regularly and dealing with the stress in a positive way.

Not only was Vincent forging his own path, he continued to help others continue their own journeys to healthier versions of themselves and his inspirational story helped put their own health challenges in perspective. He also spearheaded a drive to collect and donate care packages for those less fortunate from the effects of the pandemic and winter season. He was able to organize a total of 180 care packages; 70 going to the neighbourhood house, 40 to open table, and the rest was handed out over the holidays in December.

As he reached each milestone in his recovery, he set his sights on the next goal…that being the Virtual BMO Vancouver Marathon’s half marathon.

BMO Vancouver Marathon
BMO Vancouver Marathon VIRTUAL race features races for everyone with Vancouver’s only Marathon, Half Marathon, 8KM race, Relay, and Kids Run.

The fact is, Vincent was one of the fortunate ones who were able to recover from a serious situation but the rest of his path back to health was one of dedication, determination and persistence. His story is an inspirational one and we feel fortunate that he is with us at GFTeam Canada. As we continue to claw back our lives from the pandemic’s effects, getting back to a healthier lifestyle ourselves; we can look to Vincent’s example of how important and possible it is to reach your health goals.

Vincent’s story and path is a shining example of the importance of taking control of your health. Not only to be a healthier person but also to deal with the stressors of life in a positive way. GFTeam Canada believes that it is about your health first, finding a community of support second and grappling and striking instruction is just the means to this end. We are so impressed with what Vincent has done and from where he came that we needed to shine some additional light on his journey. GFTeam Canada is lucky to have this attitude and personality in our community and we feel our students are better for his example.

Suck One covid
Suck One covid 🙂

We hope that our students and future new students learn to develop a similar indomitable spirit on their own paths back to a healthier lifestyle. We strive to create a real community of support and shared goals here at GFTeam Canada where people like Vincent, the other coaches AND the person next to you can inspire and support you to reach your own health goals. It’s time to RECONNECT with your health and your community in 2021. OOS.

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