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Two years ago, I was 25 years old and working in the corporate world. I had many things to be grateful for, a beautiful loving Swedish girlfriend, great friends and a job that put me in the higher tax bracket. I was relatively active, going to the gym a few times a week and my diet was better than most. However, despite all these privileges, I was miserable for a large percentage of my day. That misery was coming from my job and the endless feeling of being stuck in the rat race. I was constantly chasing targets, always getting an inch away from the carrot, only to be whacked yet again by the stick. Then something tragic happened which changed my life for ever.

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My Father, a relatively young and healthy man of just 50, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. This was the catalyst that changed everything. The first change was how my Father interacted with the world. Despite being social, he was always slightly quiet. Someone who was great at holding an interesting conversation, while simultaneously not actually saying much at all. All of a sudden, the flood gates opened. He was able to share with us his inner thoughts and feelings so fluently and humorously that he started writing his own popular blog. This became a fundraising campaign and enabled others to read first-hand what to expect from the conventional treatment process.

Dad was loved by so many that he quickly raised several thousand pounds for his chosen charity (Marie Curie Cancer Care). Being the ambitious man whom he was he set a target of £10,000. At £6k, his fundraising hit a plateau, and I decided to join forces in order to reach his target. I picked the London Olympic Triathlon as my contribution and stepped up my training.

I was being royally screwed around by the company I was working for; they had manipulated me into a role that I never wanted, paying significantly less and forcing me to commute five hours a day for the privilege. I therefore one day decided enough was enough. I could see my Father was getting worse on a daily basis and his diagnosis was terminal. Realizing that life was too short for being miserable, I posted my company assets via a courier and quit.

Enjoying a sabbatical from the working world, I threw myself into training. I had always been active, but now I added the missing ingredient, a healthy diet! The triathlon became my mental contribution to Dad and turning my nose up at the luxuries of sugar rich foods and alcohol became no challenge at all. I was pushing harder in my training and slowly noticed my body changing.

A month into this new life, Dad took a significant turn for the worse. The man I used to know had become a small frail frame and continuously slipped in and out of consciousness. Anyone who has watched a love one through the final stages of cancer will tell you it is a heart-breaking scene to witness.

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Our supporters rallied together and a few days before Dad passed, we reached our charity target of £10,000. I was happy that he at least witnessed the accomplishment of his final goal.

Devastated by the loss of my Dad, I continued to focus on my training and my new healthier lifestyle. My savings were being depleted and I knew I had to go back to work. I started interviewing for roles back in the corporate world, but was struggling to find motivation to go back to the miserable life that I had once lived.

It was at this point I decided to re educate myself while continuing the job hunt. I found myself settling on the element that had really helped me through the previous months, health and fitness. I discovered it was possible to become an exercise referral specialist for cancer patients. This seemed perfect for me, so I started studying. I lived two personas for a short time, “corporate sales team leader Mike looking for the new and exciting technology company”, the other as a “Cancer Rehab student”. I knew eventually I would have to make a decision on which path to follow.

One day I was offered both “Head of Sales” for an IT security company and “Health and Wellbeing Advisor” for Nuffield Health. The corporate role was £80k, the role at Nuffield Health….. £7k. I discussed with my partner the two options and being the soul mate that she is, she highlighted that I was so exited about the role at Nuffield, that I owed it to myself to explore it. This was the decision that lead to my own awakening of what is important in life.

My studies started with the ambition to rebuild patients after treatment. However the more I read, the more I realised that Cancer wasn’t just this disease that picked people at random, but that over 80% of the cases are significantly related to lifestyle. The reading continued and I went through a staggering amount of studies that showed how exercise, diet and emotional well- being could have dramatic effects on preventing and managing the disease.

There was so much evidence to support lifestyle change, I had to ask myself the question, why was there not more being done to support this? Cue morpheus with his red and blue pill options. My research lead to the global manipulation of health care by large corporations. Following the money, I started to see the interconnections between the large companies at the top of the chain and the illusion quickly came tumbling down.

As one World came down, another built up and I started learning more and more about healthy living. I realised that the physical changes I had made lead to increased mental focus and a change of thought process. I thought, “If I can get others on this healthier path, they too, may open their eyes”.

One day I met a young Professor who was deputy Dean of the Post Graduate Medical Institute (PMI). He took a keen interest in our work and suggested we should look into doing a research project together. I gathered a group of health professionals and we official founded The Specialist Health Centre. Using a holistic collection of nutrition, physical activity, emotional well being and biomechanics, we designed comprehensive programmes that help people get onto a healthier path. The ethos focusing on long term change and specifically patients with chronic conditions. Typically patients are referred to us via local supportive hospitals, however for those that are further a field, we decided to open our virtual doors to anyone who feels the need for additional guidance.

The young Professor keen to support us, negotiated a research contract and significantly boosted our work load. In less than 6 short months, we have been able to set up programs within two large hospitals and private practices in the area. We have moved into our first office and the success with our patients is being published in a national magazine. Patients are coming through the door and we’re guiding them to a drastically improved quality of life. The county council has started supporting our work and we have gained the interest of the National Director of Cancer for the NHS.

I still have frustrations with how society is stuck in a rut of chronic disease; the public demise seems to be the finical benefit of large food manufacturers and other industries that govern the World. I feel however we’re enabling people to take the first step to changing the conscious thought process. Not only that, Seeing someone reclaim their life from poor health is second to none!

My partner and I are getting married in the summer and even though I live with the continuous hole left by the loss of my father, I feel incredibly privileged that in his passing he left me with his last gift, a purpose!

If any readers are interested in learning about how lifestyle can support cancer treatment (or other chronic conditions), please feel free to visit our website: www.specialisthealthcentre.co.uk or mail me directly at mike@specialisthealthcentre.co.uk .

Wishing you a healthy future.

Mike