After a lung disease reduced him to nothing, he decided to become a weightlifter.

Jaed Wells of Utica, New York, always wanted to be a professional bodybuilder, but cystic fibrosis held him back from his dream.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) causes a thick buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. The infections and lung damage caused by disease reduce a person’s life expectancy to just 40 years.

About five years ago, at the age of 16, Jared’s health began to fail.


“For some reason, when I was doing my medications nothing was healing right. I just kept getting sicker and sicker,” he told WKTV.

“I got really close a couple of times that I was not even sure I was going to bounce back and after that it seemed really tough to get out of it but eventually I made my way though and I'm here now," he added.

At 21, his health began to improve and he was released from the hospital. But the years of battling CF had taken a toll on his body. Jared was was frail and had little muscle tone.

Hoping to get back into shape, last March, he began working out the Body Alive gym in Utica with his best friend, Vinny Donnelly.

Vinny’s father, Bob Donnelly, is the owner of the gym.  

He warned the community of bodybuilders not to make any “wise cracks” about Jared’s slight frame.

This is my son's friend Jarod.Before I hear any wise cracks. Jared has been fighting lung cancer and we almost lost...

Posted by Body Alive on Saturday, March 17, 2018

A few days after Jared started hitting the gym, Bob Donnelly posted an inspiring photo of Jared working his eight-inch biceps on Facebook.

The inspiring photo of Wells fighting back after years of struggle quickly went viral, earning over 19,000 shares.

“We expected it to get the maybe 200 likes that the page usually gets, then all of a sudden it was getting thousands," Wells told NBC News. “It’s kind of exciting, and it's all been really positive.”

Bob Donnelly kept the Body Alive community updated with posts of Jared’s progress.

Jared’s unwavering desire to get fit in spite of living with a terminal disease was an inspiration to many. The support he received from the Body Alive community and social media allowed him to push himself even further.

Vinny Donnelly started a GoFundme page to help with Jared’s medical bills and supplements.

“Jared has been a close family friend for years,” Vinny wrote. “He's strong willed and has been fighting since I've known him. I don't want him to fight alone.  We are going to keep hitting the gym and stay positive.”

By July, Jared gained 35 pounds and was eating 6,000 calories a day.

Here's the most recent photo of Jared from August 22,  just four months after embarking on his journey.

Jared’s story is inspiring on many levels.

Not only did he fight his way back from the brink of death to build a healthy body, but he did so without giving a thought what others in the gym might say. He walked into an intimidating gym filled with muscle-bound weightlifters and pushed his 121-pound body to the absolute limit.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

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Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Richard Desmick / TikTok

Over the weekend, an estimated thousands of people ran 2.23 miles to show their support for Ahmaud Arbery, a former high school football player and avid jogger. Arbery was shot and killed in February near Brunswick, Georgia after being pursued in a truck by a former policeman and his son who claimed he resembled someone responsible for break-ins in the neighborhood.

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via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

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