Bryan Hill and his wife, Julia Horner, kept a secret for three long years, until their newborn son gave them the courage not just to share, but to be brave. #k5evening
SEATTLE — Every Monday, Bryan Hill travels two hours from West Seattle to Bellingham to train at Life Force Gym’s ninja training facility.
It’s part of his mission to show what’s possible; not just on the obstacle course, but in life.
He is training for an appearance on NBC’s hit reality show American Ninja Warrior Season 14. But for him, it’s not just about a game show, it’s a life he’s trying to preserve.
Bryan, an intensive care unit nurse, suffers from early-onset Parkinson’s disease, a disease of the brain that affects the body. Exercise can help slow the progression.
“My feet don’t communicate with my brain, so it’s difficult to balance and be agile,” Hill explained. “It makes me stiff and rigid when I’m not taking my meds.”
Doctors diagnosed Bryan three years ago at the age of 30. He was thriving in his nursing career and was just a month away from marrying his fiancé, Julia Horner.
“It’s a lot to process, but it hasn’t changed anything for me,” Horner explained. “We’ve made a commitment to one another through all of that.”
Part of that commitment at the time meant they would not tell a soul about the diagnosis.
“Our wedding because we were the only ones who knew there was an intimacy there when we said our vows,” Horner shared. “It meant something different to us.”
The secret lasted three years; but not sharing a challenging part of her life with friends and family was beginning to feel disingenuous.
“It felt like we were living a double life in a way,” Hill said. “It’s exhausting to keep a secret!”
Fortunately, a newcomer gave them the courage they needed. Shortly after the birth of their son Forrest, Bryan and Julia went public with the diagnosis.
“A big part of my diagnosis was showing him that you can do difficult things,” Hill shared. “You don’t have to be afraid to be yourself.”
And that desire makes Bryan fight. You can always find him on social media pushing his limits. This passion has attracted a lot of media attention.
Less than a year after his IPO, he has been featured on the Today Show, CNN and of course Ninja Warrior this summer.
“I want to overcome as many obstacles as possible,” Hill said. “The greatest thing is when someone watches TV and has the courage to fight their own obstacles, Parkinson’s, whatever. I hope it gives a person the courage to face their own.”
The evening of KING 5 celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, TwitterInstagram, email.
https://www.king5.com/article/entertainment/television/programs/evening/a-west-seattle-mans-courageous-decision-opens-doors-to-the-national-stage-on-nbcs-american-ninja-warrior/281-4a7b0a0d-4155-4408-b3ee-260d045e1bf3 A West Seattle man’s courageous decision opens doors to the national stage on NBC’s ‘American Ninja Warrior’