For some people, being told you’ve got a malignant brain tumour at age 21 would be reason enough to focus your energy on just getting better.
For Ollie Jowett, however, being given that diagnosis only served as motivation to achieve his dream of getting in peak physical condition, inspire other people to do the same, and not let his brain tumour defeat him.
Ollie, a personal trainer from Cornwall but now based in Belfast, was diagnosed in 2017. Determined to reach his goals, he gave himself the mantra of ‘What’s your excuse?’ to push him to not give up, and work even harder to get in shape.
Speaking about his diagnosis, Ollie said:
I was heartbroken, obviously. But it was quite a numb emotion I was feeling. I thought ‘what am I meant to do now?’ Because you don’t prepare yourself for this, certainly not at 21.
Unfortunately, given Ollie’s young age and the location of the tumour in his brain, many conventional treatments are not an option.
Surgery isn’t really a valid option for me, given where the brain tumour is located. The consultant said it’s just too risky, especially given my age.
The likes of chemotherapy and radiotherapy aren’t really options either because it’s just so risky and I’m just so young.
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My name is Ollie Jowett and I have brain cancer. __ Last year on 29th September 2017, my life effectively changed forever because it was on this day that a consultant told me “Ollie, you have a brain tumour.” __ A heart-sinking moment and a day that I’ll never forget. Being told at the young age of 21 that you have been diagnosed with a life threatening disease, I won’t lie, that was a hard day. __ Then, and more recently, on Friday 16th March 2018, I received more bad news. A recent MRI scan has shown a growth to the tumour now making surgery more likely this year. __ I invite you to follow my journey as I document the struggles and challenges I will face. __ This is #ProjectBeatCancer
Sharing his story on social media, Ollie set up Project Beat Cancer to document his progress and hopefully inspire others along the way.
Now I’m just trying to inspire, motivate and inform people. I’m a believer in that we all have a purpose. I know I’ve been dealt a bad hand with cancer, I now have a purpose to inspire and bring awareness about cancer.
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The transformation. Between both of these photos is a physical difference of 27lbs lost over a six month period. But the bigger transformation was the mental strength I GAINED over this six month journey. Dieting as everyone will appreciate is hard. But taking your body to a place and condition it’s never been to takes your body and mindset beyond the depths of its comfort zone into a place of discomfort. But as the saying goes, nothing great ever came from a comfort zone. Growth lives where fear exists and I knew that to grow as an individual, I had to put myself through this physical transformation to become mentally stronger. And whilst this journey was not conducive for my health, when it was my health which was my purpose for embarking on this journey to begin with, I had to suck it up and persevere. When your purpose is greater than your excuses, you find a way to prevail. And my purpose was to inspire change in the mindset of a dieter by changing the language of which they use. A language which is full of excuses, justification and rationalising for giving up with their goals. I wanted to motivated you by getting in the best shape of my life to eliminate the excuses I hear you make.
Ollie signed up with Ultimate Performance, which helped him slim down and then build up his physique, saying he finished the 12 week schedule more physically and mentally strong then ever.
Trying to find the energy just to train and trying to find the energy just to work is horrendous.
But despite my health being the problem, it was my health that was my motivation in the first place. I had to constantly keep reminding myself of this when I wanted to give up.
It wasn’t just to get a six-pack. That wasn’t the purpose. The purpose was to get to the end so that I could inspire other people with my story.
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What I Learnt From Doing A Photoshoot (I love food more than having a six pack, does that count?😂) In all seriousness, whilst dieting down for this photo shoot was the hardest physical, mental and emotional journey I’ve been on, it taught me so much. It taught me to never give up. It taught me consistency. It taught me patience. And it taught me that if you have a purpose you can achieve anything you set your mind to. My purpose was to inspire and motivate change in the language of which a dieter uses. That language being excuses, rationalising and justification for their actions and behaviours. Therefore it became my mission to get in the best shape of my life whilst going through the hardest battle of my life that is fighting cancer. And if I could do it, if I could get photoshoot lean whilst battling cancer then I could one day say: ‘WHATS YOUR EXCUSE?’ And I did it. But I can tell you now this process was way out of the depths of my comfort zone. Physically it left me exhausted and mentally it left me broken, but I knew this was a process I HAD to do to come out the other side mentally stronger. Now on the other side, I have gained a new found mental strength which I can use as ammunition in my fight against cancer. I am now stronger because of this process I now advocate YOU to do something today which scares you and is outside of your comfort zone. You know the saying already: ‘Nothing great ever came from inside your comfort zone’ So why do we stay in it? Because of our fear of failing. Because if we fail, we will look silly and stupid and our status will lower as a result. But let me tell you the thing about what happens when you stay inside your comfort zone. NOTHING HAPPENS. You don’t move forwards and you don’t progress in life. Comfort is the curse, I believe. It hinders all growth and limits all potential. If you’re unhappy or unfulfilled in ANY area of your life then step outside of your comfort zone and embark on a journey to new found strengths. Because I did and I’ve grown as a person because of it. @projectbeatcancer
Still being unable to use conventional therapies, Ollie has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the expensive, alternative treatments available to him.
He is also looking to the future, and is currently turning his experience into a book called, naturally ‘What Is Your Excuse?’, in order to motivate others to train, diet and achieve their fitness goals.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]