Wilmington woman walks again after botched surgery, support of bodybuilder fiance
A Wilmington couple’s love for each other - and fitness - has helped them through some difficult times, including a struggle with degenerative disc disease.
Gerald Aikens drives a 1987 Chevy caprice he calls “The Beast.” The grill says Hater Proof, and exemplifies Aikens' positive attitude about life.
“Hater Proof means – just for those who don’t know – the world is filled with a bunch of mess, a bunch of nastiness," Aikens said. "Hate comes in all different shapes and sizes. At the end of the day, you just gotta let it roll off of you. Let it roll off, like a 150 proof rum – it’s the same thing.”
Aikens is a professional bodybuilder and personal fitness coach. At over 300 pounds, he’s a gentle giant – having supported his fiancé Crystal Lambert, who lost the ability to walk several years ago as a result of complications of a surgery.
They met at Club Utopia in Wilmington in 2003, and hit it off. And they had a lot in common, since they both took athletics very seriously.
Lambert is a former state champion hurdler who later ran at Delaware State University, but realized she had degenerative disc disease – which runs in her family. She’s had two surgeries but claims the last one was botched, resulting the loss of her ability to walk.
Just a year ago, she started walking again with the help of Aikens, who helped her gain strength in her legs back through various workouts involving exercise bands and balls, and walking around the room with Aikens' support.
“I couldn’t straighten my legs so when I stood up I had to stand up on my legs and he’d hold me and I’d walk forward," Lambert said.
She still doesn’t have all of the sensation in her legs back and has had a couple of falls, but is hopeful for the future.
Lambert is thankful for her fiancé’s physical and emotional support, and now she can return the favor.
Aikens’ second-place finish in the state bodybuilding competition in August qualified him for the nationals in Miami November 18th and 19th - and Lambert will be cheering him on.