Jermaine Seagears lives his life by a simple ultimatum: Work or don’t eat.
It comes from 2 Thessalonians 3:10; he stumbled upon the verse shortly after he was out of college and lost in life. The phrase guided him through motivational-speaking opportunities and athletic training. Now it is the name of his brand, Work or Don’t Eat.
“It is a culture I created to help me get to where I am today,” Seagears says. “Literally, I had to put work in as a person, whether it was praying, whether it was putting the work in physically, schoolwork, academics, being a big brother. I had to put this work in to be successful.”
Seagears, who came to Las Vegas when his younger brother, Jerome, transferred to UNLV in 2015, spends his time training athletes across the Valley, speaking to groups and coaching athletes at Durango High School. He is a ball of energy, constantly going. Constantly working.
But it all came to a halt in November 2016, when he was diagnosed with Diffuse B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Cancer was trying to take his drive away.
Immediately, Seagears succumbed to pessimism.
“I’m thinking the worst-case scenario. I am thinking death,” Seagears says of his initial mind-set after being diagnosed. “How does a guy like myself, who works out, eats healthy, get diagnosed with something so deadly? But I’m a tough person, so I don’t think about that for long. I snap out of it.”
And while he was out of commission for a year, the sports performance and basketball conditioning coach at Durango was still texting and calling the head varsity coach, DeShawn Henry.
“It was almost like he didn’t have time for cancer,” Henry says.
Seagears was still working.
Even though he lost his hair, beard and eyebrows due to chemotherapy, he eventually got back to training.
“I’m not a victim,” Seagears says. “I don’t want to be a victim. I want people to know that I got through this and you can do the same.”
Now he’s busier than ever. On top of his speaking, training and coaching, Seagears has started a nonprofit organization called Journee for Cures. He uses his story to inspire others with cancer to not give up on what they hope to achieve.
But the best news for Seagears is that his hair, beard and eyebrows are back and the cancer is gone. Seagears’ life motto was put to the most difficult test. He handled it the only way knew he how: by working through it.