Hilliard, the inspiring octogenarian traceur

“This is Hilliard Jones. He is a 76 year-old man with lung and brain cancer living his best life possible. He picked up parkour a few months ago; I taught him how to Kong vault today in class, and we had a long, meaningful conversation.

We talked about mortality, how important it is to love and be kind to others, how everyone has different experiences at different points in their lives, and how important it is to appreciate and honor any accomplishment you or others make, regardless of when in your life it happens.

Hilliard was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. He said that ever since that moment, he has pushed himself further than ever before. He emphasized to me the importance of getting out and really enjoying what we have and are able to do while we can. He got his black belt in Aikido three weeks ago, and in the past few months he has taken up training parkour whenever he is able.

It was a humbling experience to say the least, and I was nearly brought to tears during our conversation. At the end of the class he told me how much he cared for me, and asked me if it was okay if he could think of me as a grandson of sorts. I said of course. A huge smile spread across his face as he hugged me.

Just a reminder to everyone reading: Be kind, stay humble, love others as much as you possibly can and live to the fullest, because we really only get one life. “

We are truly inspired by Hilliard and we would like to thank APK Coach Tuck Barks for sharing this meaningful experience with all of us.

Follow Tuck @tuckgb and stay tuned for more stories from the Community!