Oswego entrepreneur ‘steps up’ to fight cancer, help local family

Kristi Thompson-Ross, right, reacts as Bob and Peg Natoli present the check to her on Thursday.
Kristi Thompson-Ross, right, reacts as Bob and Peg Natoli present the check to her on Thursday.

OSWEGO, NY – It took Bob Natoli two minutes Thursday to set two Guinness world records – one per minute. It took Kristi Thompson-Ross just a second to break into tears of joy.

Natoli, a six-time Guinness World Strength and Fitness Record holder, entrepreneur and author of “True Vision 4 Success,” dedicated his seventh World Record attempt and at least $4,200 to Julian Ross “to step up community support for Julian’s fight against Stage IV Neuroblastoma.”

Michael Empric, of Guinness, right,congratulates Bob Natoli on his record-breaking performances

Michael Empric, of Guinness, right, congratulates Bob Natoli on his record-breaking performances

Natoli personally pledged $100 per step for the cause and asked others to help Julian by making their own donations.

The Oswego youngster watched, via Skype, from his hospital bed in Philadelphia.

His mother, Kristi Thompson-Ross, was on hand at TimeBuyer to witness the world record attempts in person.

With both world records firmly in hand, Natoli presented Kristi with a check for $9,900. As she dabbed away tears, Julian’s voice could be heard through the speakers in the background, “Thank you!!”

Natoli steps up
Natoli steps up

“Hey, Julian. We did it!” Natoli shouted at the computer screen. The youngster replied by flashing two thumbs up.

“That was one. That’s for you, buddy. We’re in this together, right?” Natoli said after clinching the first record.

“Right!” Julian replied.

In between record attempts, Natoli opened two coconuts and shared the cold fresh coconut water with some members of the audience and media (yum, and good for you). He used a blade to bore into the tops of each.

Both feet are on the box
Both feet on the box

From Julian’s vantage point, it appeared as if Natoli was using his bare hands.

“Mom!” the youngster exclaimed. “He must really be strong. He can squeeze water out of coconuts with his bare hands!”

In an effort to help Julian and his family raise money and awareness for this devastating form of childhood cancer, Natoli took on the most prolific strength and fitness record setter in Guinness World Record history, Paddy Doyle of the UK.

Ready to step back
Ready to step back

Doyle’s Guinness World Record for Most Step-ups in One Minute with a 40-pound Pack (41) was accomplished June 20, 2011, in the UK. He also held the record for Most Step-ups in One Minute with a 60-pound Pack (35).

“This attempt is unlike anything I’ve ever done in the past and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got for Julian,” Natoli said prior to the attempt.

A crowd of more than three dozen family and friends looked on while a Guinness World Records Adjudicator (judge) was present to verify everything.

one rep completed
one rep completed

As he neared the record, audience members clapped and shouted encouragements. The record fell with a couple seconds remaining on the timer and Natoli huffed and puffed his way to an even higher plateau.

“At about 45, I couldn’t really feel my legs. After 45, I was just hoping they’d hit (on the step),” Natoli said after shattering the first record.

After a few minutes’ rest, this time wearing 60 pounds on his back, Natoli eclipsed Doyle’s second record of the day.

Michael Empric, of Guinness, congratulated Natoli and presented him with plaques recognizing him as the new world record holder.

In between attempts, the world record breaker relaxed with some fresh coconut water
In between attempts, the world record breaker relaxed with some fresh coconut water

He beat Doyle’s first record 52-41 and the second 47-35.

“You blew both out of the water,” Empric told Natoli. “It’s a really amazing achievement. It’s really, really amazing that you were able to do the second attempt so close after the first one.”

“We did weigh the packs both before and after the record attempts to verify that the weights did not change during the attempt, there was no shifty business,” Empric continued. “The height of the box was also measured to make sure it was exactly 15 inches.”

“Beforehand you have that anticipation; you wonder how you’re going to do, you practice and practice but the real thing is the real thing. It only counts when it is in front of the adjudicator,” Natoli said following the step up record breakers.

The local entrepreneur, success coach and author of “True Vision 4 Success” said he stays in shape year round. Recently, he started focusing solely on the step up.

“It’s always my goal to do as much as I can. I won’t stop until the time is run out,” he said.

Kristi Thompson-Ross samples some coconut water
Kristi Thompson-Ross samples some coconut water

This record was more difficult to earn than the previous one, he admitted.

“You feel it all over,” he said. “But, mostly in the legs.”

“Do you have ‘spaghetti legs’ yet,” his wife, Peggy, joked from the front row.

“My question is what is your next record attempt going to be? I’m ready, right now,” Empric asked Natoli.

“I have a few things in mind,” Natoli said.

“Bob wasn’t born with any special gifts. He just has the focus and the heart to accomplish great things to help people,” Empric told Oswego County Today. “Most of our record holders are just ordinary people who set their minds to do something, trained for it and went out and did it.”

Not everyone succeeds, he added, citing an attempt for the world record for the most people in one place dressed as a “Star Trek” character.

“Hey, Julian. Ever see a check this big?” Natoli asked as he held the large ceremonial check up to the computer’s camera.

“It’s incredible to watch. I’ve never watched anything like that. I was really nervous,” Kristi said. “He’s amazing, absolutely amazing.”

Julian was a big inspiration, Natoli said.

“He’s been a big inspiration to us, too,” Kristi said. “He’s an incredibly sweet and loving child. He just has faith that the world is going to make him better. I think his positivity has really helped him through this whole process.”

“Julian’s parents are currently unemployed and have been so for an extended period due to the economy, making community outreach a particularly important element in their fight to continue Julian’s treatments,” said Robin Hamm, director of marketing for Timebuyer, Inc. “I hope this helps the Ross family as well as other kids suffering from similar diseases.”

Natoli agreed.

“There’s a website called www.juliansjoust.com if you want to find out more about Julian and what’s he’s going through. I’ll tell ya something, these records are cool; Guinness is an incredible organization – but I think this stuff should count for something,” he said. “If somebody else comes along, decides to do more, God bless them. I hope it’s for a good cause like this.”

True Vision 4 Success can be purchased from Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble online or at www.truevision4success.com while supplies last.

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