by Christian Duque
Earlier today I received a heartfelt text message from my good friend, IFBB Hall of Famer “Sugar” Shawn Ray, who wanted to share a very special fundraising campaign helping IFBB Pro Bola Ojex, who has suffered a terrible injury and undergone emergency surgery. With everything looking good for the 2021 NY Pro, Bola was hard at work and on course for a fantastic presence at Steve Weinberger’s world class event.
The NY Pro, formerly the NOC, is one of the most prestigious bodybuilding shows on the planet, second only to the Olympia and Arnold Classic. Getting on stage at this event is a huge feather in the cap of any professional physique-based athlete. Moreover, Bola is a member of the ultra competitive 212 Division, where all the guys come in packed full of muscle, peeled, and posing like their lives depend on it! His preparations were on point and everything looked like it was falling into place. Unfortunately, Bola got injured in the process and required emergency surgery for two torn quadriceps. This injury and the rehab that will follow, will put him in a wheelchair for the next 30-60 days. Fortunately, the bodybuilding community is coming together, as it always has!!
I am so happy that we have superstars like Shawn Ray, who take the time to put together campaigns like this and who are actively leading up efforts to get the word out. If you get a chance to go the GoFundMe page, you can read more about the effort and what the money will be used for. The goal is set for $20,000, with just about $600 raised so far. It’s my hope that as a result of this article that other media outlets (e.g. Muscular Development, Behind The Pump, Nick Strength & Power, RX Muscle, Desktop Bodybuilding, Greg Doucette, Evolution of Bodybuilding, etc) will help spread the word!! The bodybuilding press has an extremely pivotal role to play in campaigns like these and can spread the word faster than any other measure, imaginable. We, here, at Iron Magazine also give Digital Muscle the option of running this article on its site to help, with this very goal in mind.
What’s important about online fundraisers is that any amount will help. Whether you donate $1, $5, $20 or more, it will all make a huge difference. As long as donations are coming in, it keeps the momentum going, and increases the chances that the goal will be met. But if you can’t donate, you can still make a huge difference as well, by sharing the campaign to your wall on Facebook, Instagram, or on message boards. The more people that know about the campaign, the more likely funds will be raised, and word will be spread. Finally, by simply re-posting the campaign on your social media platforms, you are telling your followers and friends, that this is a trustworthy campaign and that will make them a lot more agreeable to either donating and/or sharing.
With regards to the injury, thankfully it seems the surgery was a success, but given the many demands of physical therapy and all of the emotional stress involved, it’s very important that we try to come together as a community to help one of our own during a moment of need. It’s also very important to note, that Bola hasn’t asked for anything, rather, we are coming together in solidarity and with lots of love, to make sure that he knows that we are with him until he’s back up on his feet, in the gym, and kicking ass on stage!! Bodybuilding may not be as big as major league sports, but we are better, because we are all one big happy family.
With regards to injuries, no amount of preventative health or special accommodations can prevent them, definitively. I have seen guys tear and destroy muscles by lifting minimal amounts of weight, with perfect range of motion, and after thoroughly warming up. Sometimes injuries just happen. There’s no way to predict them and there’s no way to minimize the risk. I’ve seen guys get injured on machines, free weights, even by simply stretching. Thankfully, everything here was done perfectly. From the surgery to the rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, bodybuilding isn’t just Bola’s passion, It’s also his livelihood. As a personal trainer, confined to a wheelchair for the next 60 days, his earning potential will be substantially compromised. Most personal trainers are self-employed, so if they cannot work, they cannot earn. When you’re self-employed, there is no such thing as sick leave or sick days – if you don’t work, you don’t eat. And while I’m sure Bola may have savings and may have planned for a situation such as this, any and all money that we can raise to alleviate the stress he must be going through and to allow him to commit 100% of his energy into a full recovery, is more than worth it.
Bola will not be able to compete at the competition he had hoped for, but I have no doubt that we will see him on stage again in the near future. Although 2020 was such a difficult year for our sport and for the world in general, physique-based athletes didn’t skip a beat. As the contest season is about to kick off and promoters are putting together world class productions, it’s very important that we not forget the athletes. Without the athletes, there is no sport. They are the ones who create the magic and they are the ones who the fans travel from all around the world to see on stage.
With all that being said, I ask you to please consider donating and/or sharing this beautiful campaign started by Shawn Ray to help our friend, Bola Ojex. Please remember that no matter what you donate, it will help. A link will also be provided at the bottom of this article. As always I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine.
Campaign Link: https://gofund.me/4cdf8075