Yesterday marked World Cancer Day, a stark reminder of the relentless grip of this devastating disease. For me, it's not just another day on the calendar; it's a call to arms in the battle for prevention.
The memory of my mother's battle with cancer, which ultimately consumed her, stands as a stark testament to its indiscriminate cruelty. The pain she endured, witnessed by our family and her community, remains etched into my memory. Though 13 years have passed, the anguish feels as raw as if it were yesterday.
It's a reminder of the fragility of life and the urgent need for action.
In the face of such adversity, we cannot afford to remain idle. We are called upon to act. It is our collective duty to prioritize cancer prevention through awareness, education, and, quite frankly, by simply doing what we know is right. By championing healthy lifestyle choices and advocating for regular screenings, we have the power to mitigate the risk factors associated with cancer, potentially sparing countless individuals from untold suffering on a global scale.
I envision a world where tobacco, alcohol, physical inactivity, and poor diet hold no sway over cancer incidence—a world propelled by the "outruncancer" vision, fueled by personal determination to rise above and cultivate resilience.
Embarking on the journey of personal growth and success in both sports and life requires a willingness to shed the burdens that anchor us down, the weight that holds us back.
In the pursuit of excellence, effort is our propellant.
Effort is not just about hard work; it's about intentional, focused, and sustained action. It's about making choices that align with our goals and value.
The willingness to give up what weighs us down is a powerful act of self-determination, a conscious decision to rise above obstacles and reach for the skies.
And to maximise the output of this effort I must let go of self-doubt, fear, and complacency.
It's hard to put into words the myriad of emotions from this morning's memorial for Keith. Sadness, joy, respect, friendliness, connection, love, despair, acceptance, and more were all palpable in the air, accompanied by the haunting melodies of Scottish pipes.
I wasn't sure what to expect this morning, but I knew I needed to attend. I walk away with a renewed appreciation and gratitude for a functioning body and a commitment to look after it. It can all be taken away in an instant, and whether we find it fair or not, it can happen to all of us.
But I also walk away with a feeling of gratitude, to the friends and family in my life. I know they have my back, and their love, much like that of Keith's closest friends, transcends.
Oh, my sweaty singlets – the unsung heroes of my workout wardrobe. My wife, bless her delicate nose, can't seem to understand the profound relationship I share with these aromatic garments. To her, they're a biohazard; to me, they're a badge of honour.
Every time I stroll into the living room after a run or particularly intense workout, my wife's face contorts!
But little does she know, these singlets aren't just items of clothing; they're the fabric embodiment of my hard work and dedication. Each drop of sweat is a testament to the epic battle I fought against the elements, laziness, and the lure of the sleeping in.
If my singlets could talk, they'd probably share tales of my runs in the trails, hard ascents and descents with my heart pounding and recently my struggles at the Xfit gym on the rowing machine and lifting weights.
Sure, they might be a tad pungent, and yes, they may have developed a personality of their own, but these singlets are more than just fabric; they're the unsung heroes of my fitness journey.
My 9-year-old wrote a beautiful poem, a song, about finding himself by looking at the ocean. It's perfect and resonates deeply.
What surprised me wasn't that he did it, but the sudden realization that I stopped writing songs and poems a while ago—for some unknown reason. The same reason I stopped singing, dancing, and expressing joy in simple, natural ways.
And I suspect I'm not alone.
Yet, at festivals or concerts, you witness people stepping out of their routines, singing, dancing, moving freely. It's liberating—a momentary escape from life's treadmill, responsibilities, and everything else, just being in the flow.
Reflecting on this, I now recognize the melancholy I saw in my parents' eyes at times when I was growing up. Similar sudden realizations must have hit them too.
I won't give up easily without a hard fight. Instead, I'll get uncomfortable and follow the inspiring examples of my younger son and my past self to keep that light and fire burning.