From the Depths of Despair to the Summit of Hope: A Fighter's Journey Through Adversity

Kris Sparks teaching a BJJ seminar

In March of 2020, I had just finished teaching a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seminar. 

Driving home to Charlotte, North Carolina from Myrtle Beach, I was in a tunnel of pain. 

My stomach was pushed out like I was nine months pregnant.

At my martial arts academy, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace (Elvis Presley’s instructor), Hall of Fame legend, was waiting for a kickboxing weekend camp!

The next morning I was rushed to the ICU.

The Diagnosis: Facing the Unthinkable

When I woke up, I was told the worst news of my life …

I had “incurable,” chronic and progressive disorders, and could have as little as 18 months left to fight.

Up until this point, I was living my dream! 

Back in 2010, I decided to walk away from corporate America after a successful short career in leadership.

I felt something was missing and teaching martial arts was that missing piece.

So on a Friday, I quit my job without a job, and told my gorgeous wife we were gonna open a Martial Arts dojo! Yes, I know some of you are thinking that’s crazy… and it was at the time…

But it was the best decision I would ever make, and put me on the path to entrepreneurship. It taught me how to battle myself and work hard, regardless of the daily outcome. It told me to stack the wins, just keep moving the ball, and never give up on my dream.

So now, 10 years later, I’m faced with the worst news of my life, lying in a hospital bed. One month later, in April 2020, my martial arts academy went out of business due to Covid.

At the time I had 337 active members and nine employees. 

Now, here I am with no money, no hope, and the worst pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. 

Dreams Turned Nightmare: Battling Illness and Business Closure

We went out of business completely. To say this was the lowest point in my life would be an understatement.  I’m having daily pain, throwing up blood, with no money and no hope. 

Of course, being a fighter, I never gave up, but definitely felt like Rocky hitting the canvas over and over again.

17 prescriptions per day, poison, radiation… we threw everything in but the kitchen sink! 

The doctor said I was the healthiest sick guy that they knew.  Without a question my lifestyle was saving my life, but I still had a long way to go, and the fight was looking bleak.

We moved to the lake in Pennsylvania, so I could be in my happy place.

I never gave up, but at this point, I was accepting my fate.

It’s now October 2022, I’ve been fighting this for over 18 months as hard as I could but my body was tired.

My mind was tired.

My soul was tired.

The Fight Continues: Refusing to Surrender

Then, a dear friend called me on the phone and told me there is hope!

I had looked into regenerative cellular therapy… leaving the country… but the cost was astronomical.

I literally sold my house so I could afford this life-saving therapy, but was too sick to even travel down south of the border.

A Glimmer of Hope: Discovering Regenerative Therapy

My friend said that there was regenerative cellular therapy right here in the United States! It was completely legal, and this company was the leader in the world for umbilical cord-donated stem cells from a healthy mother/healthy baby. 

That same friend booked the airplane ticket and flew me down to Pensacola, Florida, and that is where I met New Hope Regeneration and changed my life! 

I received 2 CCs of umbilical cord-donated stem cells from a healthy mother/healthy baby directly into my body! 

A New Beginning: Embracing Recovery and Resilience

The first night after therapy I slept 8 1/2 hours woke up in tears with hope for the first time since my diagnosis.

I was back inside the fight! Each month I started feeling a little stronger; a little better.

Here I am writing this article in February 2024 and I can say I’ve not had a single prescription for over 12 months post stem cell therapy!!! 

85% of the clients from New Hope Regeneration say after one therapy, it exceeds their expectations. I am no different. To say this exceeded our expectations would be an understatement.

My wife has her husband back better than ever. 

My sons and daughter have their father back better than ever.

My students have Sensei back!!! 

The Return to the Mat: Triumph and Transformation

I just finished registering for the World BJJ Championships in Orlando, Florida this coming March. I am not done yet.  This is only the beginning.

This is not a dress rehearsal. We don’t get a second chance, so I’m gonna live this life to the fullest.

Regardless of what you’re going through, it’s all about how you respond.

I am not a victim. I will be victorious! I will be a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Belief is so powerful… The mind is the limit. 

Now I’m back training every day and trying to become a better version of myself. I understand how quick life can change and just when you think you’re on top of the world, you can find yourself right back at the bottom.

The lesson learned is to keep punching every single day. I will continue to try to be a better version of myself.

I won’t take anything for granted because it can all go away.

I will embrace the suck! 

See you on the mat.


for Unbreakable Bones & Joints

Get healthy today

Shop the line