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What if you could overcome your fears? What would you do, and how different would you be? “Most people have no idea of what they’re capable of; I think they’re almost trained by fear to not attempt the DPDzLQJ WKLQJV WKHy GrHDP RI. %uW ,’P OLYLQJ SrRRI – LI yRu can overcome fear, you can overcome almost anything,” says Jay Platt, whose feats include swimming across the Mississippi River while handcuffed, shackled and blindfoldHG. HH’V VuEMHFW RI WKH QHZ GRFuPHQWDry, “/LYLQJ UQVWRSpable,”. 3ODWW ZDV OLYLQJ KLV GrHDP DV D U.6. 0DrLQH ZKHQ D FDQFHr syndrome called von Hippel Lindau (VHL) exploded like a bomb on his life. It caused tumors in his brain and on his spine, as well as kidney cancer and the loss of his left eye. “I was mad at the world, and maybe part of me was afraid of the fact that I would be considered a handicapped person,” says Platt, who was retired from the Marines due to his health. After a personal journey of acceptance, however, Platt went on accomplish feats many world-class athletes wouldn’t consider. Along with his record-breaking Mississippi swim, he swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco with his hands and feet tied, and he was one of fewer than 300 people to have hiked the 2,100-mile southbound Appalachian Trail. HH WDONV DERuW fiYH DrHDV WKDW KHOSHG KLP RYHrFRPH IHDr and anxiety in order to rebuild his body, mind and spirit. • )RFuV RQ WKH MRyV LQ OLIH: :KHQ yRu rHDOLzH LW’V QRW DOO about you, the annoying voice that tells you to be afraid begins to shrivel and loses its poison. While still reeling from his diagnosis and its effects on his life, Platt heard the carefree laughter of a severely handicapped girl being pushed in her wheelchair by her mother. “‘Listen to the ELrGV, 0RPPD,’ , KHDrG KHr VDy – VKH ZDV MuVW VR KDSSy to experience that simple pleasure,” he says. “That, more than anything, sent me on a positive path.” His family, friends and those to whom he donates money through various charities gives Platt strength. • 6SLrLWuDO SrHSDrDWLRQ: -uVW DV 3ODWW WrDLQV SKyVLFDOOy IRr KLV IHDWV, KH fiQGV LW HVVHQWLDO WR ZRrN RuW VSLrLWuDOOy LQ RrGHr to stand up to the fear and anxieties that life’s trials bring. To that end, he surrounds himself with positive messages and positive people, including his friend Les Brown, the influHQWLDO DuWKRr RI WKH VHOI-KHOS ERRN, “/LYH YRur 'rHDPV.” • UVH VHWEDFNV DV D PRWLYDWRr: :KHQ VRPHWKLQJ EDG KDSSHQV, RQH RI WKH PRVW FRPPRQ rHVSRQVHV LV IHDr – IHDr WKDW it will happen again; fear that you’re less than you used to be; or irrational fear. Platt always knew he’d be a Marine; when he was forced to retire early, he had to recalibrate his entire life. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘What are you GRLQJ QRZ"’ – ,W GRHVQ’W PDWWHr ZKDW yRu uVHG WR EH,” KH says. Platt is always looking forward to achieving his next goal. • 5HPHPEHr D JrHDWHr JRRG: :KHQ KH VWDrWHG HxSHrLHQFLQJ FRPSOLFDWLRQV IrRP 9H/, ZKLFK firVW PDQLIHVWHG LQ KLV OHIW eye, Platt promised God that he’d devote his life to others LI KH JRW WKrRuJK WKH VFDrH. HH KDV NHSW WKDW SrRPLVH – KLV Appalachian Trail hike alone raised $109,000 for charity. “Staying true to a promise might be the most emotionally solid aid to overcoming fear,” Platt says.