Her young son was a huge fan on the show. So when she lost him to brain cancer at age 5, this amazing mama decided to step up and compete in his memory.
Sarah Poulin's son Jacob was a HUGE fan of American Ninja Warrior, and had been since he first watched the competition series at age 4. Sadly, he died a year later at the age of 5 following a battle with a rare form of brain cancer. And so in order to honor him, Poulin decided to compete on the show.
"Jacob was hooked from the moment he started watching," the 32-year-old mom—who also has two young daughters—explained during Monday night's episode. "He had been a monkey bar phenom since he was 3, but this opened his world up to obstacle courses."
When her little boy came home from school sick in March 2016, doctors later discovered the cause—a tumor in his brain. "He never really caught a break after that," Poulin said though tears. "No parent wants their kid to ever be in pain. There's absolutely nothing worse."
After Jacob passed away in October, Poulin vowed to honor his memory in the best way she knew how. "I decided that he loved American Ninja Warrior so much but would never be able to get to do it," she explained. "So I would do it for him. I decided that nothing was gonna stop me."
And so the courageous mama started going to the gym, where she trained for months, until the day came when she found out she had scored a coveted spot on the reality competition. "When I actually got the phone call that I was going to compete, I just broke down and cried," she explained to NBC Connecticut.
On Monday, the episode aired with Poulin competing in Jacob's honor, while wearing a heart locket with his picture around her neck. And while she only made it past the first obstacle before falling off the famously tricky Rolling Log, the determined mom already told NBC she is planning to take on the challenge again.
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"No, I didn't hit a buzzer," she said. "Yes, I will hit one next year."
Either way, we know Jacob would be proud.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram.