Drew Hunthausen had an ideal beginning. As a child, he performed in talent shows, played golf and Little League baseball, and was even elected the student body president in sixth grade.
But two weeks after becoming president, Drew’s life forever changed when he contracted a case of bacterial meningitis that left him in a coma at a local pediatric intensive care unit.
10 days into his coma, Drew’s kidneys began to fail, and the doctors informed parents that he may not survive. But Drew would not quit, and three months later, he finally awoke.
He emerged from his coma both blind and hearing-impaired, but despite these changes, Drew was determined to continue his life uninterrupted. He graduated from middle school and high school while learning Braille, and took on the challenge of navigating a large campus when he enrolled at California State University, Long Beach.
It was at CSULB that Drew recognized his own talent for public speaking, and he quickly found himself on stages sharing his story and encouraging others to take on new challenges with a positive attitude, a gracious heart, and no excuses.
But words aren’t the only way that Drew inspires people – he also gets crowds cheering as a competitive triathlete. Since his first race in 2016, Drew has participated in over 10 triathlons and several open water races and 100-mile bike rides.
On June 2, Drew will be at the starting line with his guide, legendary German triathlete Dirk Aschmoneit, for the first annual Herbalife24 Triathlon Los Angeles.
Tragedy tried to slow him down, but Drew’s awesome determination and willpower keeps pushing him forward. His story stands as another example of an ordinary person put in a grim situation only to defy the odds and do something extraordinary.