My Experience Around Cancer

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Growing up, I've had the good fortune of not really being affected by cancer or been around people that have been affected by cancer. For the longest time, cancer, to me, was just another disease that we've been learning about through school, and through the media. All I knew about cancer was that it was a horrible disease to have, and that statistics show that many people suffered it, but it was really hard to be empathetic to it. It's not that I didn't care, it was just hard to be completely empathetic to a reality that I wasn't yet part of, but that would soon change...

I guess the first real experience with cancer was when a friend from school had surgery to have her thyroid removed. That was my first glance into the reality that this is something that can happen to just about anyone. Suddenly the thing that had always remained elusive to me had found it's way into my life and from this point on it would revisit me through different people I had close relationships to.

In 2013 I started working with a gentleman with stage iv cancer. We started doing exercise programs to improve on his strength and overall well being to prepare him for what was to come. In the beginning the fitness programming was looking great, the guy was getting stronger, he looked good, and for the first time since being diagnosed, he was feeling radiant. This would change when he travelled to Los Angeles in 2014 for his chemotherapy, he stayed down there for his treatment and wouldn’t see him again for another 7 or 8 months. Upon his return, he’d changed quite a bit from the handsome barrel chested man, to one that was frail in comparison. He had come home to Edmonton and is currently getting treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. We’ve since been working together again, trying to regain lost ground in physical strength and well being, but one thing I admire is his will. After all that’s happened, his will still remains strong and is a source of inspiration.

While working with the gentleman mentioned above, I had started dating my wife Marilene whose mother was also currently suffering from breast cancer. Linette, my soon to be mother-in-law, had survived ovarian cancer five years ago and was now battling breast cancer. Marilene was away from home because of the nature of her work and would be away from home three weeks out of the month. While she was away I’d take Linette to the Cross Cancer Institute and keep her company during her treatment. During this time I’d see the disease at it’s worse, through the patients at the Cross Cancer Institute as well as through Linette. I visited Linette on her birthday and celebrated with her, but saw that she was under the weather due to the side effects of the chemotherapy. This gave me a feeling of uneasiness that would leave an everlasting impression. Fortunately for us, Linette is currently in remission and has recovered from cancer for a second time in her life. While this is a battle won against cancer, I’d see it again soon enough.


The first client I got as a personal fitness trainer was an elderly man, we’ll call him Mister W. for convenience. Mister W. and I had been working with each other for five years until last October when he had been diagnosed with the disease and we’d stopped working together. Mister W. and I had been through our ups and downs over the years, but I’d not expected this to come to him. He passed away 2 months later and I didn’t know of his passing for another 6 months.  

I now, truly, feel the empathy for those that have or had cancer. While it has not affected me personally, I have the appreciation for this formidable foe that stands before me. It’s everywhere. From the battle with a client currently, to the victorious recession in a family member, and to the claimed life of a dear client and friend. It’s everywhere, but with this empathy I’ll do what I can to help by raising awareness to others.

The Tight Assets Fitness Team will be going to the Ride To Conquer Cancer on August 7-8 as crew members to support the riders and our client participants. Please donate to our cause by clicking the link below and donating. Let’s work together to look for a cure.


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