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Featured Image Credit: Javeno McLean
A powerlifting champion is bringing his local community together by training those who are disabled, sick, or elderly, without asking for any payment in return. Check out his inspiring work below:
Javeno McLean is a 37-year-old powerlifting athlete who owns the J7 health centre in Manchester.
The dad-of-two set his sights on a career in fitness 13 years ago, after scribbling his dreams down on a piece of paper in his mum's kitchen.
In the early stages of his career, Javeno worked for Manchester City Council, helping to create a new exercise movement called Active Lifestyles.
However, feeling a strong desire to create his 'own thing', he set J7 in motion.
Now, Javeno is devoted to helping those who may be physically or mentally at a disadvantage - all without asking for anything in return.
Currently, he trains with 15 disabled children and more than 30 elderly people.
“We can give someone as much joy as we can with the cards they have been dealt so the world’s not as frightening for them," Javeno told LADbible.
Despite his experience in the fitness industry, Javeno built up his community 'accidentally and organically', after agreeing to coach two disabled individuals.
He continued: "It started spreading like wildfire, and I got some amazing messages and I thought the more people that know about this [the better].”
Marley Fenton has cerebral palsy, and is just one example of the individuals Javeno seeks to help. Through basic everyday exercises that able-bodied people take for granted, such as getting out of his wheelchair, picking up a ball and lifting it over his head, 11-year-old Marley has made progress with both his physical and mental wellbeing.
Marley’s mum Nicola said Javeno has made a hugely positive impact on her son in the short time they have known each other, giving him the ‘determination to never give up’, as well as building his confidence.
Nicola told LADbible: "He makes Marley smile from the get go. Javeno deserves to be known for being such an incredible guy with a huge heart."
Looking to the future, she believes Marley's overall mobility will progress 'a lot’ and she's also confident that Javeno, who is working on Marley’s core strength, will aid him in taking his first steps.
Javeno’s role is evidently not just physical, as he emphasised the significance of mental coaching as an aspect of J7’s rehabilitation work.
“The lessons we learn in the gym; they transcend and go into real life. That grit, that determination, that fight,” he explained.
“They get a new found level of confidence to do things that they never thought of. To try new things. To improve their quality of life. And I think I’ve had something to do with that. It’s amazing for me.”
This rings true with Josh Coy, a 25-year-old with cerebral palsy, who Javeno also trains.
Through working on everyday rehabilitation exercises, Josh has built the strength and confidence to take up baking and pursue acting.
When asked about the motivations behind his work, Javeno said: “I’m from poverty. I understand what it’s like to have nothing.
"My family taught me when I was young, when I’m in a position to give without taking, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
He continued: “I’m doing it because I want to help. I want it to be as organic as possible.
“I don’t ever see the wheelchair, I see the person. I don’t see the cancer, I see the person. I don’t see the disability, I see the person.”
Above all, he receives thousands of messages from disabled and elderly people all over the country who tell him how inspired they are by watching his videos.
Despite dedicating most of his time to helping those in need, Javeno also won first place in the Powerlifting European Championships held in Manchester last August.
He managed to beat hopefuls from all around Europe to go home with a gold medal in the deadlift category.
For Javeno, being a professional athlete and working at the health centre go hand in hand.
“The work I do, it fuels me to be a better athlete," he said.
"What they’re doing is a strength that is so indescribable. So, every time I’m training and sh*t gets hard I say, this ain’t nothing. I’m fit and healthy, why am I moaning?
"They motivate me to do what I do. They say they’re lucky to have me but I think I’m lucky to have them. We all need each other.”