MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A man with a passion for fitness — the picture of health — finds himself on the other side of things. His self-proclaimed pride due to his active lifestyle and clean diet had him thinking he’d never end up hospitalized until he was.

On March 22, Cam Marston had an ischemic stroke. He made a full recovery, primarily thanks to the care he received at USA Health. He had a stroke while he was exercising at his gym.

“As I was on the treadmill that day, I heard something weird and it was in my head. It was not from external,” Marston said.

He stopped exercising briefly and then shook it off.

“I kind of regained my composure, jumped back on the treadmill, and at this point, things get kind of fuzzy,” Marston said.

Before Cam knew it, he was leaning against the wall next to the treadmill.

“I looked across the room, and I noticed that he was leaning, and I’m like, ‘Hey man, we don’t come here to lean, we come here to work!’ And he didn’t respond,” Next Level Fitness and Performance Owner Rosshiki Leatherwood said.

Within seconds, Leatherwood and others in the gym realized what was happening and rushed to him.

“I jumped on top of the treadmill and pulled the emergency cord,” Leatherwood recalled.

Marston said, “I remember looking around the gym going, ‘Who are they talking about? It’s not me. I’m here five days a week. I’m the peak of health.’ There were people surrounding me. They’d stopped the treadmill. They were holding me up.”

Then paramedics arrived.

“I remember hearing the sirens,” Marston said. “And they immediately began administering the, what they call the clot-busting drug and put me in the ambulance, and we began the quick trip to South Alabama Medical Center.”

A team was standing by at University Hospital waiting for his arrival, and they started running tests immediately.

“They administered more of the clot-busting drug,” Marston said. “They found the stroke in the left hemisphere of my brain. They could see the clot.”

He went through a state of paralysis, struggling to move his right arm and leg, experiencing muscle weakness and drooping in his face. After doctors removed the clot, that changed.

“Now I’m smiling, and then both hemispheres are mirroring one another, and it was nearly magic,” Marston recalled.

What had been Marston’s preferred treadmill for years became a machine he now won’t even go near.

“That is the death treadmill. It should have a skull and crossbones on it,” Marston joked.

“He has labeled this corner, like death in waiting, but he didn’t die. We’re glad he didn’t die; it would have been bad for business,” Leatherwood laughed.

A little humor has helped Marston find peace with what happened to him, but he realizes how fortunate he is to be alive.

“The first piece of good luck was he recognized what was going on and I didn’t fall. People grabbed me before I took a terrible fall,” Marston said. “The talent of the people at that hospital who knew what they were doing. I’ve learned that my outcome is very atypical, and to be grateful for it.”

Marston still exercises, but his workouts aren’t as intense as they once were, and he’s now taking prescription medication regularly.

His life will never be the same as it was before the stroke, but he said these days, the sky looks a little bluer. He finds more delight in the little things. And he appreciates simply existing more than he ever has before.

Cam’s message to you is, if you see someone and something seems off about them, don’t be afraid to get involved. He said if the people at the gym hadn’t stepped in, he might not be here today to share his story.