Life After Life Changing Events

Written by Wind of Change

Neil had a stroke. He was told his life would change. Francois had open heart surgery. He was told his life would change. Chris has stage 4 lymphoma. She was told her life may end. They all decided to take on the change and make it for the better.

Neil suffered a stroke in January 2013. Only the quick thinking of his wife and her ability to recognise the signs saved him. He decided to not to let his his stroke stop him from doing things that he enjoyed. He decided to take up a challenge that most would find daunting and to help others along the way. On Sunday 31st August 2014 Neil took part in the Sunshine Coast Marathon 2014 finishing in just over 5 hours. Not content with that he immediately signed up for an ultra-running race, the Blackall 100.

In 2009 Francois decided to lose weight and went from 120kgs to 80kgs in 2011, then mid 2012 decided to stop smoking 40 cigarettes a day and started running. He decided to change his lifestyle with his first objective being to run 100m. He went from 100 to 1000m leading up to a 10km race in Auckland, November 2012. In June 2013 he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery but that did not stop him running a half marathon in Cambodia a few months later. His journey has seen him to date running 5 half marathons including the Sunshine Coast Half Marathon 2014 and on Sunday 14th September 2014 Francois completed the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast. He has since gone onto complete the 2014 Noosa Triathlon. He believes anything is possible, his everyday heroes being those who jump out of their comfort zone, 'If they can do it, I can too' he says.

Chris was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. For some this would be enough to put them off doing anything physical. But Chris has always enjoyed being fit and believed her fitness would help her through her biggest challenge. Seeing exercise as medicine Chris did not let treatment or illness stop her from taking part in events that enriched her life. On Saturday 6th September 2014, in the latter stages of lymphoma and with her only chance of survival being to find a donor for a stem cell transplant, Chis took part in the 2014 annual Wishlist Row for Cancer completing 10km in a double kayak and placing first in the category.

Here's her story



I am a very young 54 year old female with a zest for life and fun. I've never felt I was 2OLD2, but I did accept I was 2POORLY2; that was until I met Rob at NEVER2OLD2. 


I have stage 4b Hodgkin's Lymphoma and after having many types of chemotherapy over a period of 4 years; I've been told my only chance of surviving is to have a Stem Cell Transplant aided by BV [which is an antibody drug conjugate]. I'm sure you can imagine the fear and desperation one may feel when news like this is delivered, but I'm a positive person, and with NEVER2OLD2 for inspiration I am conquering some fears. 


Rob of NEVER2OLD2 rang me and asked if I could join him in the 'Wishlist Row For Cancer, rowing a double kayak. I was very nervous and questioned my ability; after all, I was only 4 weeks post emergency admission due to pulmonary oedema. But Rob was having none of it; he said if needs be, I could sit back, relax and he'd do all the work. He wanted me to feel normal and he felt I should at least 'give it a go'. As I'm a great supporter of Cancer Research and organisations that help to make people feel 'uplifted', I said "yes". 


On the 6th September we turned up to the Maroochy River for the 10K row. I told Rob I may only be able to row 2K, but he said it didn't matter, he told me we were out to have fun and the aim was to support 'Wishlist'. 


It was a beautiful day, still wind and sunshine, and the area was full of happy determined people, all ready to give back to the community. We set off with 4 other double kayaks and Rob told me to relax and row steadily. I'm not sure I took his advice re' the 'steady' bit, I think I set off like a bat out of hell, but with his encouragement we did row the full 10K – and no, I didn't relax, and yes I did row the full 10K with a smile on my face! 


The NEVER2OLD2 idea is truly an inspiration. Rob treats everyone as equals and never doubts people's capabilities; he certainly never doubted me! Because of Rob & his website and his passion for fitness & health, I'm now crossing off other things on my bucket list; and I'd encourage anyone to look at his web site and join him on future adventures. 


Thank you to: wish list, Cancer Research - QIMR, my haematologists, the nurses, my friends & my family for supporting me and making me feel very 'normal'; and of course a huge "thank you" to Rob at NEVER2OLD2; you are truly amazing.". I hope my story helps others believe they are NEVER 2 OLD 2"


Neil is looking to complete an ultra-marathon, Francois has signed up and is training to complete a full Ironman in Cairns, 2015 and Chris is undergoing stem cell treatment with a view to complete a triathlon in the future along with a number of things she's Never 2 Old 2.


Obviously these events are not for everyone but they have shared their experiences to highlight that at any age, at any level of fitness, we can still challenge ourselves physically and mentally. Just by doing this we stimulate and invigorate ourselves to lifestyle changes which, if we keep doing them, become healthy habits. You are, we are, Never 2 Old 2.



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Comments (1)

  • Guest (John)

    Hello Rob
    How about the Tre-X Off-road triathlon Saturday 6 September? 2 courses, sprint and long course. Something a little different.

    Comment last edited on about 6 years ago by SG