Amateur skateboarder Cody French had spent the past ten years of his life on a skateboard.
French has always been very passionate about the sport; he has even been invited to travel the world for competitions, but now that has all come to a halt.
Many people around the world have had their livelihoods changed over the past year dealing with COVID-19 concerns, but for Cody French, it wasn't until this year that things started to change for the worse.
"Back in February, I got really sick, and I just wasn't feeling myself," he explained in an interview.
"I had crazy stomach pains that kept getting worse."
French did not contract the virus but rather a much more alarming condition.
On March 24, Cody's 23rd birthday, he admitted himself to the hospital and was informed he had internal bleeding.
Spending the past few months in and out of the local hospital, French had undergone every type of testing available, from an MRI, X-ray, CT scan, and daily blood work, among others, to figure out what had gone wrong.
Unfortunately, nothing indicative came up from the various tests, and in order to stop the internal bleeding, French was prescribed a hefty - and costly - medication regime to survive.
Unable to work or earn money from competitions, French has been stuck paying bills that he cannot keep up with on his own.
His medications alone are averaging $420 weekly, which Cody's Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover.
The young man's mental health has been suffering not only from his alarming condition and his inability to continue skateboarding, but now, the medications are affecting his emotions, appetite, and ability to sleep at night.
Having lost over 50 pounds in a matter of weeks, Cody French became severely underweight.
"I have always been a fairly slim guy. I didn't have 50 pounds to lose," he exerted.
Awaiting an explanation for his ongoing condition, French felt he had to do something to give his body a fighting chance.
Knowing he would be unable to recover if his body lacked nutrients, he started forcing himself to drink three protein drinks each day.
Naturally, after being left in the dark for so long, Cody reached a breaking point and spoke out about his frustrations.
"It was really scary, and nobody was able to help me. So, I hate saying this, but I ended up getting really mad."
The Road to Recovery
Upon voicing his concerns, the doctors at his local hospital agreed it was time to send him to McMasters Children's Hospital, which has a nationally recognized digestive diseases care and research program.
While he is still seeking answers months later, French feels he is in better hands.
Although, he can't help but wonder how much longer he can live like this.
"If they don't figure this out in the next couple of months, I will probably be dead," he pronounced.
"So, hopefully, they can figure it out soon."
Cody French imagined himself in a completely different place in his life at this age.
Having been in countless skateboarding competitions all over the world and earning sponsorships from reputable brands such as West 49 and DC Shoes, French's goal was to work towards earning a spot on the future Canadian Skateboarding National Olympics Team.
Rather than on the road to the Olympics, Cody French is now on the road to recovery.