With a promising future ahead of him, Omotayo Adeyemi’s life was taken far too soon. The 28-year-old from Houston, Texas died tragically in a hit-and-run accident on August 31st. But  during his brief life, he demonstrated what it means to lead with courage, optimism, and purpose. Omotayo, a Thrive Challenge winner, was dedicated to becoming the best he could be — not only by improving his health and well-being, but by inspiring others to do the same.

At the start of the Challenge, Omotayo knew he wasn’t leading a healthy life. He struggled with his weight, avoided exercise, and drank too much soda. He faced external challenges, too, losing his job as a water technician in the midst of the pandemic. But instead of becoming despondent, he made a plan — and stuck to it. He swapped sugary drinks for water and ate more vegetables. He began jogging, walking his dog, and doing 50 push-ups each morning. 

The results were dramatic: Omotayo lost 40 pounds. He felt more energetic and started sleeping better. “Doing the Challenge has given me faith and shown me another version of myself — a version of myself that lives a healthier life,” he said. 

Omotayo did not keep his successes to himself. He shared his progress with his family, and especially found joy in telling them about new activities and foods he tried. Shortly before his death, he invited his younger brother, Oluwaseun Adeyemi, to join the Thrive Challenge too. 

Omotayo’s legacy will live on — a shining example of what it means to make Better Choices and, ultimately, how important it is to appreciate life in the moment. His own goal was “to invest in myself and help others to have a better life” — and by any measure, he succeeded.

At his brother’s request, Omotayo’s prize of $2,000 will be donated in his honor to charity: water, a non-profit organization founded in 2006 that provides drinking water to people in developing nations.