Rare Cancer Survivor Turns Life Around by Training for Cycle Challenge

The survivor of a rare form of cancer is training to take on the 100km Downer Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge in July.

By Micaela AboodyThursday 23 Jun 2022Inspirational StoriesReading Time: 2 minutes

After a shock diagnosis of Chorodial Melanoma – a rare highly aggressive cancer in the eye – in October last year, Andre Brocklebank had two choices after his surgery and radiation last December: go on living life as normal or make some important life changes.

While in hospital Mr Brocklebank discovered an inspiring Ted Talk by Martin Inderbitzin on his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, he decided to take on a triathlon to boost his fitness while going through chemotherapy.

“When people talk about cancer they talk about how deadly it is… but the difference was how he approached it is that people actually do survive it as well.

“He used the example of a 70 year old woman who had cancer… and completed a marathon in about 7 hours… I actually found that really quite inspirational,” Mr Brocklebank said.

“By setting a goal it gave me something to aim for and not having any excuses to not do the training, [it’s] turning my life around,” he said.

He read information on anecdotal evidence that supports physical health and cancer survival rates and decided to sign up for the Downer Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge.

Downer Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge 4

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“By setting a goal it gave me something to aim for and not having any excuses to not do the training, [it’s] turning my life around,” he said.

A month after being discharged from hospital Mr Brocklebank started training on a dumb trainer* before being loaned a smart trainer** from a work colleague and set up a training plan.

“I’ve gone from, in 6 months, not being able to ride a bike for more than 15 minutes to riding up to 2 hours a day at high intensity,” he said.

Andre Brocklebank - Cycling

Mr Brocklebank explained he did the ride 6 years ago and raised quite a bit of money, this year he is raising money for Stronger For Longer, supporting the most promising prostate cancer research.

“The type of cancer I have is one of the rarest in the world, less than 2 hundred people are diagnosed every year. Because not many people have it there’s not a lot of research or investment on it,” Mr Brocklebank said.

He is very thankful to all the medical team, his work colleague, and to his wife for the support throughout his cancer treatment and training.

“Everybody’s journey is different with cancer. The thing we try to learn is to cherish each moment, each minute, each hour, each day and focus on the things that are important,” Mr Brocklebank said.

Main picture: Supplied by Andre Brocklebank in hospital after his surgery.

*A Dumb Trainer is a tool used to mount your bike but is not connected to any cycling apps

** A Smart Trainer is a similar tool to mount your bike on but can connect to cycling apps to adjust the resistance of the bike.