Gavin Kemble had a battle with cancer earlier this year. As a consequence, he got to see the good work the Cancer Society do.
We caught up with Gavin to find out more about his experience with the Cancer Society and his WRTN Fundraiser.
Tell us about your experience with the Cancer Society?
G:I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in April 2018. It came as a total surprise. I started to shake while in Australia in late 2017, went to my GP when I got home and then to a specialist who diagnosed me with graves disease (basically, everyone thought that I had an overactive thyroid). One of the treatment options was the total removal of my thyroid gland. I took that option over a radiation treatment as I didn’t want radiation in me. The surgery went well and I have a lovely 8 cm scar on my neck. I look like I survived a 1930 mobster attack! When they cracked open my thyroid they found six cancerous tumours, the largest of which was quite large. Luckily for me, the cancer I have is not aggressive and my prognosis is very high of a total cure (90%-94%). I still, however, had to rumble over to the oncology ward in Hamilton for appointments, and ultimately had that radiation treatment after all. Sitting in that oncology ward made my situation really hit home. I saw a lot of people struggling with this bloody horrible disease. Almost all seemed to have a bigger and steeper hill to climb than I.
I don’t mind admitting that sitting there, I felt vulnerable, scared and close to tears. In my family, men don’t cry. So there I sat, feeling pretty sorry for myself, and daunted. Then all of a sudden this old chap approaches me and introduces himself. He offers me a coffee, and when I decline, just sits down and shoots the breeze. That made a massive impression on me and when I was called up for my appointment, I looked around and realised that the room was full (not literally but you get the idea) of volunteers doing the same thing to lots of other patients. I was struck by that. It made my heart sing a little, and the chat definitely helped me then, and on every subsequent time I have gone back to the oncology ward. When you have cancer, you get sick of thinking and talking about it. Being able to talk about something else totally, in one of the most confronting situations helps. I have also chatted to a number of other cancer patients, and they tell even more remarkable stories about the Cancer Society going around to their houses, and explaining all of the medical terms and ‘mumbo-jumbo’ in plain english. I can only imagine how huge that is. Cancer is made worse by a lack of understanding, in my opinion.
Basically, I think that the Cancer Society do a tremendous amount of good and I want to help them do more.
Tell us about your Cancer Society Fundraiser?
G:My elder brother (Grant Kemble), and a good mate (Richard Turner) are in the relay team. Our aim is to run the 21km in under 90 mins. That is huge for 3 plodders who run 6 minute/Kilometres. We are, however, going to give it a nudge, and are all training already. I have even enlisted the help of Brad Dixon (of ‘everfit’ fame) to help me get to that elusive (for me) 4 min/km mark. We will set up a givealittle page, and all funds raised will go to the Cancer Society. We have our kit, our sponsor (my company, Enspire Consulting Limited) and have enlisted other athletes, such as Sam and Ben O’Dea to run in support of our cause. All of our Facebook pages will post about the event closer to the day (we will start in November).
What inspired you to enter We Run The Night?
G:I’ve run the 7km before. I was going to run it again this year, but my operation got in the way. I love the event, and the new date, January 2019 works out well. Grant and Richard didn’t take much convincing. The cause and the event are fantastic.
How has your journey affected your training?
G:Well, it delayed the start to my training, and my radiation treatment caused me to take a ‘training / coaching holiday’ for 2 months, but I am back at it now. As are Grant and Richard. It was during the ‘holiday’ that I came up with the idea of running in support of the Cancer Society. Every cloud has a silver lining.
“Don’t get me wrong, cancer proved to me that life is fragile and reminded me that it is finite. But I am trying not to dwell on that. I am getting back into life, maybe with a renewed focus of enjoying my family and friends more, and telling them what they mean to me - more frequently. I have developed a greater appreciation for life. I take less for granted in that regard”
What else would you like to share?
G: I’d like to shout out to Richard. He works for a competitor of mine. For me, and the cause he is going to be covered in the enspire logo for a night at least, and run for a team called enspire. He’s a good man and it’s gestures like that which actually mean quite a bit.