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‘This can happen to anybody,’ says B.C. fitness trainer, 33, hospitalized with COVID-19

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 warning from 33-year-old fitness trainer: If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone' COVID-19 warning from 33-year-old fitness trainer: If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone
WATCH: A 33-year-old Surrey man who has made health and fitness the cornerstones of his life has a warning for everyone, after he ended up in hospital fighting for his life when he contracted COVID-19. John Hua reports – May 7, 2021

A B.C. man says he’s living proof that COVID-19 can seriously affect anyone, no matter young or healthy they are.

Tarik Rahimin, 33, has spent most of his adult life working in the nutritional supplements industry, and has been a personal trainer for nearly a decade.

A nutritious diet, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and exercise, he told Global News, are all central to his lifestyle.

“Health is wealth,” he said.

Read more: As COVID-19 variants spread in B.C., concern grows for effects on younger adults

But it wasn’t enough to keep Rahimin out of the emergency room at Surrey Memorial Hospital after he contracted a COVID-19 variant in early April.

“My hands were turning purple, yellow and blue, so they got me on oxygen right away,” he said.

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“It felt like I was hit by a tank. I’ve played sports, I’ve done martial arts … I’ve lifted heavy weights — I’ve never in my 33 years experienced anything like this. It felt like I was literally gasping for air, for the last breath, every single time.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman tells heart-wrenching story of losing her young husband to COVID-19' B.C. woman tells heart-wrenching story of losing her young husband to COVID-19
B.C. woman tells heart-wrenching story of losing her young husband to COVID-19 – Apr 29, 2021

Rahimin said his doctors were concerned his organs could begin to shut down, and told him if his oxygen levels dropped any further, they would have to intubate him and put him in a medically-induced coma.

“I’m freaking out, I’m 33 years old, I’m healthy, I’m active, why is this happening to me?” he said.

“It just made me realize this can happen to anybody.”

Read more: No dramatic change in hospitalization by age or COVID-19 variant: Henry

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After nearly 10 days, Rahimin recovered enough to no longer need oxygen, and to begin to walk around, move and eat again.

He was discharged on April 20, and said he’s since been able to return to work, go for walks and to start working out again, though he is still facing fatigue.

He also posted about his experience on social media, creating a video meant to let friends, family and followers know that COVID-19 is neither a joke, nor just something that happens to old people.

“When people get it and you’re like, oh, maybe it’s someone who has asthma, maybe it’s someone who’s diabetic,” he said.

“For me, being at the age I am and I don’t have any of those, it just makes you aware that it can get anybody. You can be fit, you can do all the proper things, you just don’t know.”

He’s also asking his peers to hold off just a little longer on those birthdays, parties and trips to the beach while the province works to contain the pandemic’s third wave.

“Just think of others,” he said.

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