Battle Cancer London – Reflecting on 2018…

I’m not much of a competitor when it comes to Crossfit; I think I’m more drawn to the variety that the training offers & the like-minded communities that form around Crossfit boxes. After dabbling in a few competitions in 2017, I’d stopped proactively seeking them out – that was until, in early 2018, Battle Cancer announced they were going to be holding an event London.

If I remember correctly, the Battle Cancer fitness competition movement started with it’s first event in 2017. I remember seeing photos of it on social media and immediately new it was something I wanted to be apart of. When the 2018 Battle Cancer calendar was expanded to include a London event, I was straight on to registration – I’d recruit the full complement of team members later!

Our motley crew – I can’t even remember our team name, never mind our position on the leaderboard. Photo credit: Active Stills

October 2018 soon came around, I was fresh back from honeymoon and perhaps not as competition-ready as I’d originally imagined! That didn’t matter as for many, including myself, it wasn’t about performance & places it was about coming together for a very important cause. The workouts are super accessible, focused around the use of dumbbells and odd object carries (including fellow team-mates!) As a team of four, I found there’s less pressure on the individual; don’t get me wrong, you still work hard but theres a strong sense of camaraderie – not just with your own team but with everyone else on & off the competition floor.

Is that me? Smiling? On the competition floor?!? Photo credit: Active Stills

Whilst it was refreshing to enjoy the competitive aspect offered by Battle Cancer, the 2018 London event was emotionally challenging for me. In 2016 my, now wife, and I sadly lost three parents to cancer in the space of nine months. To say our lives were turned upside down would be a understatement; normality was put on hold for over a year. Truthfully, normality never returned, as loved ones you expect to be there for life’s big events aren’t. However, you do create a new “normal” and, since then, Vicky and I have gone on to buy a house, get married and make many happy memories.

During my Mum’s treatment, I take comfort in knowing that she had the support of both Macmillan and the local charity, Weston Park. I also rang them myself to talk to someone about everything that was happening; perhaps not for advice but as I’ve come to find, its sometimes helpful to have someone completely impartial to talk to, to unload all your thoughts on without worrying about upsetting them.

There’s a breadth of support & information available on the Macmillan website

October 2018 was the beginning of a tough time for me, with a lot of deeply buried grief rising to the surface at a time, post-honeymoon and married to an incredible person, I thought I should be on top of the world & excited for the future. I wanted to walk up to the Macmillan Volunteers at Battle Cancer and tell them how important everything they did was, but I couldn’t because the weight on my chest & tears in my eyes were too much. I’ve had to work hard to become more comfortable with the feelings that sometimes come with my grief. They’ve not gone away for good, I’m just more accepting of them now, recognising they shouldn’t be feared and are part of the process.

The Battle Cancer movement continues to grow, with the Manchester & London events being complemented by events in Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, Los Angles even more planned for 2020. This year, 2019, I return to Battle Cancer London but as a volunteer – I’ll try again to tell the guys & girls at Macmillan how important the work is that they do!

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