PUBLISHED ON: 8 March 2017

After having cancer twice, Catherine decided to seize the day and challenge herself to do what she found meaningful in life. Now she's taking on Boxing for Breast Cancer Care.

I have had cancer twice

Catherine, before and after she changed her lifestyle

Catherine, before and after she changed her lifestyle

The first time, I was given three years to live. That was sixteen years ago, and the cancer never came back. Until three years ago – when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was a major shock to the system. What followed was nine gruelling months of chemo, surgery and radiotherapy. I lost all my hair, I was made infertile by the chemo and I put on shedloads of weight. For more than twelve months after the end of my treatment I was extremely unfit and unhealthy. I felt frumpy, as though my best years were behind me, and I’d lost the energy and zest for life that I used to have.

I reached my turning point one day in a shop fitting room when I was trying on a dress and couldn’t even get it on, much less do up the zip. I decided enough was enough. From that day forward I was going to reclaim my life.

I launched a great experiment: to give myself a total life makeover. The objective: to end up with a life that was way better after cancer than it was before.

It worked.

Giving my lifestyle a makeover

The first thing I did was change my diet, going vegan, then I got a personal trainer. I wanted to be fit and energetic enough for a new, more adventurous lifestyle. After six months of healthy eating and a fitness routine I felt even stronger than before my diagnosis.

I’m now turning my grand adventure to other areas of my life, focusing on things that are more rewarding, adventurous and meaningful, sharing these in my book and website.  

Seizing the day in a boxing ring

Catherine training in the boxing ring

For me, an important part of living a more meaningful life is being able to give something back. So when an opportunity appeared to box for Breast Cancer Care, I decided to seize the day!

Following a 10-week training programme at Train2Fight gym, I’ll be taking to the ring on 30 March in Clapham Grand.

Boxing was never on my bucket list, but with my new appetite for adventure I relished the opportunity to do something a bit brave, very physically challenging, and perhaps just a bit crazy. Most of my friends and family think I have gone completely insane!

It is certainly very physically demanding, and my fitness has stepped up to a whole new level. I have also learnt that boxing is a lot more tactical than I thought, and I’m learning valuable techniques and skills. It’s not about “unleashing aggression”, as one friend asked me!

I’ve found amazing support through my training

What has surprised me most of all is that my fellow boxers, most of whom are far more fit and technically proficient than me, are an amazing group of people. Their support and camaraderie have not only made it a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable experience, but they have pushed me to achieve more than I thought I was capable of, and celebrated with me in achieving it.

It’s amazing what people can do together.

Boxing for Breast Cancer Care

Catherine boxing with the group supporting her

The best part is that this whole boxing adventure is raising funds to make a difference for people who are exactly where I was three years ago – living with the shock of a cancer diagnosis, and completely overwhelmed by their future being suddenly taken over by this very scary disease.

The good news is that not only can breast cancer be treated, but there is life after cancer.

I feel I can now say: ‘If having breast cancer is what it took to get me to live life to the full, to make it meaningful and really make every day count, then I am actually glad I got cancer.’

Life is totally worth the fight!

Cheer on Catherine in the Clapham Grand ring on 30 March 2017 and raise money to help us support anyone affected by breast cancer.

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