A Mt. Juliet Middle School student might have saved a family friend’s life.
Zack Garringer, 15, and his family have been friends with Jamie Lee’s family for years. They are more like family than friends.
In 2004, Lee’s middle son was born with a heart problem. In 2008, he had to have a heart transplant, and all the doctor visits forced Lee to quit his job teaching at Lakeview Elementary.
Since that time, Lee has seen his weight go from around 290 pounds to over 500 pounds. Lee said it was partially the stress he was under, but also the boredom of being at home and grabbing junk food to pass the time.
“I knew there was a problem when I remembered I needed to DVR “The View”,” Lee joked.
Several months ago, Garringer knew that Lee needed help. Garringer is an aspiring athletic trainer, and he knew his family friend could be in serious trouble if he didn’t start taking care of himself.
“I talked to my parents about it because I knew he didn’t have much longer,” said Garringer.
Garringer approached Lee about taking the weight off and talked about a training plan he had researched.
“He was shocked, but humbled,” said Garringer.
Lee said it was the exact thing that he needed, but he was resistant at first.
“I was like, why am I going to listen to this 14-year-old,” said Lee. “And then in one week I lost 15 pounds and I said, that’s it, I am going to listen to this kid.”
Lee said he knew he needed to make a change because he was about at the point of being immobile. He said he just didn’t know how to start, and the encouragement from Garringer was exactly the right thing.
Garringer got Lee started on lots of cardio, which Lee had trouble with at first, but was able to get through the exercises. The duo have added in strength training now, and Lee has dropped well over 100 pounds in the time they have been together.
“It makes me feel great helping a friend out,” said Garringer. “Our families have definitely gotten closer.”
Garringer and Lee have set a goal of 220 pounds for Lee, but they aren’t stopping there. They said they are just going to keep going, and keeping that strong friendship intact along the way.