If you don’t know Abby Rike’s story, here it is in a nutshell: an unfathomable car accident took her husband and two small children (ages 5 and 2 weeks), but she somehow managed to go on, ended up on season eight of The Biggest Loser, and now shares an incredible message of hope and perseverance through motivational speaking tours and her book, Working It Out. Lucky for us, she will be at Cartersville Has Heart at Cartersville Medical Center on February 9 as the keynote speaker.
We recently chatted with Abby to bring some of her wisdom and perspective with you, dear readers. (Really, we selfishly wanted to talk to her for ourselves because we think she’s amazing, but we’ll say it’s all for you, shall we?)
LBD: Your story begins with a devastating event that led to great loss. Can you share with our readers what that time was like for you?
Abby: It was terrible and miserable. It was obviously a very low point, and I felt like I would never be the same again. I had been living the fairytale life that you dream of when you’re little, only better. To have that all taken away from me was beyond devastating.
LBD: For any of our readers that might be going through a period of grief, what advice would you give them for hanging on and working through it?
Abby: You won’t feel like this forever. You won’t. When you’re in that place it feels like you’ll never feel normal again, but you will get through it. The pain won’t always be as sharp as it is now.
LBD: Do you still struggle with questions of why and still have to work through the process? Does it ever feel like you’ve “come through it”?
Abby: I definitely feel like I’ve healed. For about two years I was just existing. I was fortunate, though, not to struggle with the “why” questions. I think that I just know that the question will never be answered on this earth. I’ve always just had a peace about that.
LBD: The Biggest Loser…what an adventure! What made you decide that was the path for you?
Abby: I was in a gym a couple years after the accident, when I was at my heaviest, and I ran into two former Biggest Loser contestants. Really through a series of divine appointments and circumstances, I ended up going to the open casting call, getting called back again and again, and eventually made it down to the final few to be chosen. And I wasn’t going to go, but through more divine circumstances, I did.
It was a huge turning point in my life. You know, you get thrown into the deep end and you either have to sink or swim, and fortunately, I swam. And I swam better than I ever have before!!
LBD: So, most people would doubt that God would use a reality TV show to work in someone’s life, but you would say it happened to you?
Abby: Absolutely! It just taught me how to live again. I didn’t know what my place or my role was in life after the accident. Honestly, when you’ve lost your husband and two children, people don’t know how to act around you. It’s always just awkward. But, the show made me healthier and stronger. It showed me I could do anything that I put my mind to. And it gave me this great journey of helping other people that I never expected!
LBD: What was your favorite thing about the experience?
Abby: That I learned I was stronger than I ever thought I was. I could accomplish things I never thought I would.
LBD: What was your least favorite thing?
Abby: Being secluded from my family and friends. I didn’t get to see or talk to anyone outside of the ranch and that was really hard for me.
LBD: How do you maintain the transformation when you’re busy on the road and working?
Abby: Busyness and traveling really aren’t the hardest parts for me. I mean, it’s a battle, always, but the worst part was injuring my back. That put me down for a while and it was so frustrating. But, I’ve gotten back to taking classes and working out with a trainer and it seems to be much better.
LBD: What do you hope to impart to the attendees at the Cartersville Has Heart event?
Abby: My prayer is that people will always walk away with more hope than they came into it with. I don’t go and relive the details of the accident and that time. I just talk about the journey and I really want to give people hope. You know, sometimes when I’m speaking, they’re handing out tissues at the door as people come in and I’m thinking, “This isn’t going to be that kind of talk!” People are always surprised because they end up laughing so much!
Enter to win a VIP package (2 available) to the Cartersville Has Heart event here: http://bit.ly/VMwAEH