I had the opportunity to shoot with my friend Carmine this week at a gym on Long Island.
We met back in high school through a mutual friend and found that we had a lot of common interests, namely mischief, music, and all things Arnold Schwarzenegger. While I was content with watching Arnold kick all kinds of ass on the big screen while saying things like “if it bleeds, we can kill it,” Carmine was actually working to become The Oak himself. The guy had a plan. Even in high school, he worked out with a religious-like fervor, and in his free time, studied all things muscle. He eventually competed and placed well in several amateur bodybuilding shows, and went on to start a successful personal training business . He was the best man in my wedding.
Last year Carmine was diagnosed with lymphoma. Although the cancer was caught at an early stage and was potentially curable, he would need some hardcore chemotherapy pumped into a port implanted into his chest every two weeks for six months. The chemo could damage his heart or worse, and he would definitely need to take a break from the intense training regimen he was accustomed to.
He could have become angry and cynical at being diagnosed with cancer at a young age, especially after having lived such a clean and healthy lifestyle. Not Carmine. Never losing focus, he managed to maintain a regular, albeit modified, gym schedule throughout his treatments. He finished chemotherapy several months ago, and dragged a skinnier, balder body back to the gym to train in overtime, making up for all the time and gains he’d lost.
Today he is doing great, and although he will need regular checkups with his doctor, it looks like he’s out of the woods for now! His hair grew back in no time, and as for his body…well, you can see that for yourself!