Adam Dunlap: Overcoming Obstacles
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
Today Adam Dunlap is the picture of health. The 23-year-old Portland, Oregon resident now practices and teaches the physically demanding art of Parkour. But things were not always this way.
As a child, Adam was small and thin, but the family was not overly concerned.
“We didn’t really think that much about it,” says Shay Dunlap, Adam’s mother. “It was just his size. It was sad, and we would pray that he would grow. We just thought that maybe one day he would have a growth spurt, but he just never really got very big.”
In high school, however, Adam had some serious health challenges.
“In February of my senior year, I was 17, and I started to have daily chronic abdominal pain,” Adam says. “I thought it was cramping. We had just come back from a family trip in Mexico, so we thought it was a parasite. So that’s when the problems really started. My health really started to deteriorate as well.”
His doctor prescribed several rounds of antibiotics.
“It helped, a little bit. But then after those antibiotics wore off, it was back to the same problems. My symptoms started to get worse and worse,” he says. “The physical manifestation of my illness was beginning to be seen. My skin started to turn pale. My hair wasn’t curly any longer. It lost a lot of its natural curl. I just didn’t look healthy. Then I couldn’t sleep at night. I had problems going to the bathroom. Sometimes I would be just kind of rolling around, almost writhing in bed. There’s not much you can do.”
He was eventually diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Adam became a Christian when he was five years old, so he and his mother began praying for God to heal him and to give him wisdom.
Shay says, “When he was first discovered to have Crohn’s disease, my sister sent us the book called The Maker’s Diet, and I thought, ‘This is a really interesting book. This person has had Crohn’s, and he’s a medical person.’ So I had Adam read it.”
“The main change I had to make to combat my Crohn’s was diet,” says Adam. “I decided to change my diet. I did some research on the disorder, on the history of it, on the increasing prevalence of it in our society, and I came to a strong conclusion that it was very strongly linked to diet.”
Adam also began working out at a local gym and discovered something called Parkour.
“Parkour is a training method that allows us to overcome obstacles in a natural or urban environment,” Adam explains. “What drew me to Parkour was being in shape, because I saw the people that did Parkour and they were very strong, very muscular. They could do incredible things physically, but more than anything, I wanted those muscles.”
Adam’s body responded to his new diet and his exercise regime as he continued to believe God for his healing. He repeated the promises he found in Scripture.
“There’s one on Jeremiah that says, ‘I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you.’ So with that in my head and in my heart, I knew that. ‘OK, I think I’m doing this--I’m here for a reason—and I believe that God is going to do good things through this trying time I’m in.”
Dr. Asa Andrew is a big proponent of fighting diseases like Crohn’s with diet.
“If we can reduce inflammation by eating the right kind of anti-inflammatory foods in the anti-inflammatory diet, that’s when you’re going to see some of the greatest results with someone dealing with Crohn’s disease,” says Dr. Asa. “When he started doing the exercises, stretching and really getting his body active, that played just as important a role the bones, muscles and nerves—all of them are equally important when you’re looking to restore somebody’s health.”
Adam now teaches Parkour and has developed a line of clothing for Parkour enthusiasts. He also sees his experience as a chance to minister to others.
“One of the things I took from the Bible that I think is neglected is diet,” Adam says. “God gave a diet for his people. He said, ‘This is the food I want you to eat, not because I am a harsh God and I’m mean and I don’t want you to eat donuts and all this junk food that tastes awesome, but because this is what’s best for you.’
“I don’t think it was God’s plan to have me get sick and then heal me miraculously and say ‘Oh, look, I healed Adam,’ but to use my story and the truths I found and the faith I have to heal me and to have that help other people as well who are in the same situation I was in.”
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