A Florida teen with Down syndrome and the man who trains him have formed a brotherly bond.
Sammy Callari, 27, said 13-year-old Parker Seward is more than a client, he’s family. The pair, who met more than a year ago, train twice a week, but their relationship extends far beyond the gym.
“Parker is a blessing. You would think he has Down syndrome and that there is going to be limitations. He might look like he has difficulty but I scratch that word out and say opportunities,” Callari told InsideEdition.com.
Callari began training Parker after one of the previous trainers the teen worked with at a Naples gym went on a leave of absence.
“They asked me if I would be willing to work with him and I said ‘absolutely,’” Callari said. “Parker was the first client of mine that had a disability and before our first session I was a bit nervous but I was really excited.”
The duo had previously seen each other around the gym and exchanged high fives and jokes.
“The first session I’ll never forget it. It was an awesome experience because I remember leaving and driving home inspired. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it was his vibe that kind of filled me up,” Callari said.
Parker’s mom, Annamaria Seward, said she wanted to get Parker into the gym because as he was aging, she felt he needed something to help him release his aggression.
“I thought it would be good for him to have a trainer so he’d have proper form and not get injured,” Seward said. “I didn’t imagine they’d have this bond. It was something special sent from above.”
Callari trained Parker for a few months before moving back to his hometown in Ohio, but while he was gone, he and Parker kept in touch through Facetime and letters.
“The impact on him has been huge. From the first day on they have been the best of buds,” Seward said.
In December 2016, after three months Ohio, Callari made the decision to move back to Florida. He and Parker were then right back together in the gym again.
“When I found out I’d be returning to Florida, I facetimed Parker and the look on his face was overjoyed,” Callari said. “He has taught me so much more as a person than as a trainer. He can do anything he sets his mind to because of his attitude. He always has a smile on his face and for that to rub off on me in life is a blessing.”