Fighting fit: Steve McMahon is raising awareness about testicular cancer.A DIAGNOSIS of cancer is a shock at any time and any age.
But for Steve McMahon, 35, the reality hit especially hard when he was putting his two young children to bed.
“It was a pivotal moment. I was thinking that I could die and they wouldn’t have a father,” Mr McMahon said.
That was seven months ago when the former mayor of Hurstville was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was awaiting his operation.
Rather than keeping quiet about it, as most blokes might do, he set about raising awareness.
“It’s the second most common cancer for men between 20 and 40 years and yet guys are not comfortable talking about it,” he said.
He organised several “boobs and balls” events with Hurstville Council to encourage men and women to check for lumps.
And he decided to become an ironman.
“It was something I’d always intended to do but never got around to,” he said.
“And research says the healthier you are the better chance you have of fighting [cancer].
“After the cancer happened I was sitting around not doing very much.
“I rested a few months, decided I wasn’t going to wallow in misery and planned 20 weeks of training, pounding the streets and pools of St George.”
He completed the Huskisson long course triathlon last Sunday in five hours, 34 minutes. The event involved a two-kilometre swim, an 83-kilometre bike ride and a half-marathon (20-kilometre run).
“My first aim was to avoid sharks; and despite a mate spotting a wobbygong shark and stingrays in his swim I survived that,” Mr McMahon said.
“My second aim was to avoid a flat tyre. Thankfully, my local Bates Bikes tyres proved resilient.
“And my final aim was to survive the run and, hopefully, beat six hours.”
The event was not about raising money. Instead, Mr McMahon, now completely healthy and the NSW Trainers Association chief executive, saw it as another opportunity to raise testicular cancer awareness on Facebook.
And all that training, he said, did a lot to improve his frame of mind and ward off depression.
“The past seven months haven’t all been rosy of course but I read a great line: ‘pain is inevitable, suffering is optional’,” he said.
“It’s very true.
“I mainly want to share this story to again remind people about testicular cancer and the value of getting checked, and to demonstrate that even though I was lucky, the mind is a powerful thing and if you plan and commit you can succeed.”
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