"I met God in a coma..."
George has a very unique story. He was a stockbroker, a professional golfer and a near-death survivor of a rare virus.
Can you fill in some details?
got really sick. I was playing golf on the many tours in Florida: 2010-2012 on the circuits here. Then I got really sick, got better and then I decided I was going to do this. That’s the outline of it all. First I got meningitis then flash encephalitis. That triggered an autoimmune problem: acute disseminated encephalomyelitis – a rare autoimmune disorder – that attacks the brain tissue.
When did all of this start?
The beginning of November 2012. I finally went to the hospital on November 21 and I got out January 5th, 2013.
When you got out of the hospital what had changed?
When I was really really sick, in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) they had me on life support. They put me in a medically induced coma and I don’t know if it was dreams or whatever, but I had no idea I was in a hospital. I thought I was an actor so I woke up from that and I realized where I was. But I could never forget the dream. I thought I was a performer and I thought that’s what I needed to be doing. I didn’t really believe in God before all of this stuff happened. But He’s real. I guarantee it. I know that now.
Tell me. How do you know God now? How did things change?
Well, because He told me I was going to be ok. He told me to hang in there. And He pulled me out of a lot of situations in those dreams. I was a performer and there were other situations where I was dying or I was drowning, or I was in a car accident. Everything was a mess. When I didn’t think I could take it anymore He’d always say, “Hang in there, you’re going to be fine.” Finally he said, “You’re not done yet. There’s just more for you to do still.” That was the day that they woke me up.
Can you tell me about what happened during your recovery?
It was miraculous. The doctors said that I was going to have a lot of limitations. It was like having a major stroke. I had to do respiratory therapy, then swallowing therapy, before I could even start eating food. That’s what’s crazy – nobody knew I was going to make a recovery like this. Obviously nobody expected it. Now I’m in great shape. I worked hard to get back into shape. I mean I did the swimsuit runway at SHINE – so you would never know.
How did you find AMTC?
I saw an advertisement for AMTC, and knew I had to do this. It was for all the right reasons. I felt that God had given me a second chance and I just want people to know that this is all His doing. So hopefully that’s a good thing (laughs).
So you have a huge platform to stand on to tell people how real he is.
I was one of those people, who if I couldn’t see it or hear it, I couldn’t believe it. I know that people believe in God and see His grace, but I was blind to that. I could see and feel his wrath. That got my undivided attention! So, I made this miraculous, full recovery. It took 6-7 months, and I could drive my car again. I started going to the gym. I put on 55 pounds and got in the best shape of my life. I did the AMTC thing and signed with Premier Models and Talent in Florida.
What do you hope to do from here?
Well, acting and modeling of course. But I have medical bills. So I’m doing financial advising and doing that until other income picks up.
It was one year exactly when I got out of the hospital that I committed to Premier Modeling. That’s amazing how all of this happened in one year.
Do you have any friends or family that had positive or negative feedback from your experience?
My family is Catholic. I grew up Catholic and lost my faith as I grew up. So they love it. It’s made my family closer and my relationship with my family better. My mom still teaches Sunday school at the church. It’s been positive in every way.
Even the friends I have who are not religious or even atheist. They don’t have a problem with it at all. They saw what happened. What can they say? Maybe I’ve changed some of their lives! I’m trying to grow my faith now and learn more. I’m doing a bible study now and want to learn more about it. It’s incredible how this has all happened in a year.
I think God has some great plans for you. You’ll be able to impact others with your story.
I hope! You know, I haven’t even played golf. I don’t even have the desire for it anymore. I don’t feel like ‘poor me’, or this was a bad break. I’ve never felt that once. It’s really the best thing that’s happened to me. It really is.
It takes strength to say something like that!
It’s answered all the questions I’ve ever had. I’ve gotten to see how powerful God is, and also how much He’s in control. When you invite him in to help you, He will. It’s just unbelievable. There’s no way I could have ended up where I am now from where I was before without God doing all the heavy lifting. I walked myself out of a wheel chair. I still have lesions in my brain. The doctors can’t believe it. There are some things they can’t explain. I give credit where credit is due.
So onto the future after SHINE…
I’m excited to see what’s going to happen. I really didn’t know what to expect. I’ve met a lot of great people. I wasn’t expecting things to happen like they did. I thought I’d go there and perform and do my thing in front of the VIPs and judges and that would be it. But I was able to grow my faith there. I’ve met great people I still talk to. And I signed with two different agencies. It’s perfect with my location. I don’t know how it could have gotten any better for me.
I always want to keep AMTC involved. When I went there to audition I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t dance, sing or model. I will do what I can now and be as productive and as possible.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I caught a nasty virus. It’s not something dormant that can come back. It’s not going to affect my life at all going forward. I’m perfectly healthy. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a liability or anything. I’ve been hesitant to tell people, but it’s time now. It came to the point where it was really undeniable. It was exactly like the dream and it’s happening now. It’s crazy.