California resident, David “The Beast” Douglas, 29, calls 12-year-old Lindsay Ratcliffe, of Detroit, his “little sis.” In a 2014 photo that’s now going viral, you can see that the pair make a dynamic duo.
Ratcliffe and “The Beast” met at the Relentless Powerlifting Competition in Minnesota. The “Strong Men & Women. Stronger Kids” campaign was also a fundraiser for HopeKids; an organization designed to provide events, activities, and support for children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. The two have been friends ever since, supporting each other and helping to raise funds for medical research.
Ratcliffe suffers from Progeria, a rare disease that ages those affected by six to eight times the normal rate, as well as stunts growth, and hardens arteries. Douglas, an ex-Marine and powerlifter, says meeting her has been life-changing and inspiring -- in part because of how strong the little girl is, despite her condition.
“Lindsay became my little sis since day one,” Douglas told ABC News. He posts on his Facebook every year for her birthday and even surprised her and her family recently with an unexpected visit to Detroit.
But that wasn’t the first time the two surprised each other. Just before going into surgery for his bicep in 2014, the Ratcliffe’s showed up to the hospital for Douglas with a shark pillow and a lot of love. “The best gift [was] just having [Lindsay] there with me,” he said.
Despite living in different states, they always find a way to see each other. Douglas takes Lindsay out to eat, they go on roller coasters, and of course, they frequently video chat. Douglas, who represents Relentless, says this is just one of the many relationships that comes out of the competition. But Ratcliffe is special.
“I’m just another guy that lifts weights, she lifts spirits," he said. “She puts smiles on people’s faces and pumps love into their hearts.”