NEW ORLEANS -- A Xavier University student was inspired to change his life by a Xavier graduate who first told his story on Weight Loss Wednesday.
But the two young men never met until Medical Watch arranged a surprise meeting.
Two years ago people were amazed by this 20-year-old whiz kid. Darrin Cook was running his own internet company, graduated from Xavier early and finally accomplished a tough goal, going from 400 to 225 pounds, on his way to his 185 pound goal.
"I remember we went to swim with the dolphins and I had this life vest that was about just say (size) five times and even though it was this large, it was still skin tight and I was like, 'Darrin, this is enough, you know. No more lying to yourself,'" said Cook back in May 2011.
Local radio talk shows and even network news interviewed him. That's when KJ Hill, now a freshman at Xavier, reached out to him for support.
"One day I wanted to go somewhere and I'd been wearing, like, these stretchy shorts and hadn't been wearing jeans or pants for a long time. And one day, I tried to get up and put them on and couldn't wear them," remembers Kaleb Joseph "KJ" Hill.
Darrin never got KJ's message, but KJ worked to lose 110 pounds off of his 360 pound frame. He walked around a gym parking lot, asking to clean the gym in exchange for membership that he could not afford.
Then he got close to one of the trainers.
"She just taught me everything I know about food and rest and drinking water, because once I started to drink the water, that's when I really started to see the weight come off, because you really know that water has a lot to do with your metabolism," said Hill.
KJ never let tough times in life, losing his father or becoming a young father as a teen set him back.
"If you are responsible for another human being, it will change the ways that you live. And it also can, you can learn from your child because I learn a lot just talking to him over dinner about his day, about the ways that he sees the world. And sometimes they see things that we don't see as adults. So that's a good experience," Hill said.
At 26, KJ's dream is to be a doctor. He tells others how diabetes devastated his grandmother. He designed a travel work out kit and started a health care small business linking doctors up with groups for screenings. Weight Loss Wednesday decided it was time for KJ to meet Darrin.
"What 's up man," said Cook. "How you doing?"
"What's going on man," Hill laughs at the surprise he had no idea about.
"Congratulations on everything," said Cook.
"Thank you for showing up," Hill responds.
At 22, Darrin's business has grown, with employees and website development and social media marketing clients across the U.S. from the business and entertainment world.
With that responsibility and schedule and a genetic predisposition towards weight gain, Darrin has put on some weight. He still works out and knows that studies show with his body, and the brain chemistry that drives it, he will have to manage his weight for the rest of his life.
"I was really discouraged for a long time because it almost felt like I was a failure. It didn't matter how many clients I had or that I finished college at 20 years old or whatever. It is here I was bragging (on TV) about losing all this weight and I fell short. But I had to realize nobody's perfect," said Cook, who stays in touch with KJ on the internet. "I want to get him up and running to for him to prosper with his business and then, you know, we can motivate each other. You know, he has a road ahead of him and so do I. And what a lot of people don't realize, you know, they'll see someone who lost the weight and then they'll see them again, that they gained weight. It's not that we are lazy or we wanted to just give up. Real life happens."
Now the two hope to inspire each other in business and health.
Darrin Cook will re-release his book in a few weeks called "The Weight of New Orleans."
You can find Darrin at www.mymogulmedia.com or www.darrincook.com twitter: @darrinmogul
He is at Xavier hoping to be able to keep up with tuition costs.