My 52-Year-Old Back Feels Great


After a life of contact sport and a workplace injury in 1987 I’ve had a bad back my whole life.  I was diagnosed with a bulging disc L4/L5 back in 1987 but have remained active…running, cycling, playing hockey etc. right up to the ripe old age of 49.  Sure I had the odd flare-up every 5 years or so…then every 3 years, then annually…but I was still functioning at a high level as a result of daily stretching and strengthening and staying active.

In late 2016 things got worse.  I was waking up every morning with a very stiff back.  By 10 at night it was locked up and I could barely get out of bed after reading to my daughter.  For the first time I actually hung up the skates.

Following an X-Ray I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in my lower back.  My Doctor told me that there was no reason to hope the condition would improve…that I could only hope to delay or slow the worsening.  I was encouraged to keep up with my stretching and strengthening, but that I would likely have to take Tylenol morning and night for the rest of my life.  I should give up hockey.  I should give up running.

At the age of 52 I am now happily almost pain free and have not taken anti-inflammatory or pain medication more than once a month or so for 2 years.  I went back to hockey this past season and felt no discomfort.  Gardening? No sweat.  I have been cycling over 150km per week for over 8 weeks now as part of my Give’r Project toward a world free from cancer.  If I didn’t have a sprain in my abdomen I’d be running too.  I am looking forward to another 30 years of daily strenuous activity.

I attribute this to 2 things.  First of all I have remained passionate about movement, sports and exercise and there was no way I was going to give up things I loved.  Ping me in the comments if you are interested in what my daily practice is.  I also started taking Turmeric (Jarrow Formula Curcumin Phytosome 500mg) daily around 2 years ago after conducting a bunch of research of my own.  Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s recommendations sealed the deal.

Turmeric is really the only thing that is new in my routine…that and the simple passage of time that may also have had an effect.

Try it out!

1,110 km down & $3,175 raised! Give’r Project Week 7 Update


We’re over 32% toward our goal of funding a potentially lifesaving critical trial for someone facing cancer.

Through the past 7 weeks on the bike  I have reclaimed my appreciation of the flow that comes from long, difficult physical exertion.  It has been a revelation…rediscovering what I knew 15 years ago when I was regularly running and training for 10k’s, half marathons and triathlons.

The Give’r Project – a continuation of 13 years of cycling and fundraising for cancer research – is a beautiful compliment and reinforcing of a lifelong commitment to fitness, health and well-being.

There really is only one finish line, and when we see a world free from cancer in 2030 it will be time to share a beer, some high-fives, and then lace up and keep right on going.

Thanks for supporting my Give’r Project.  Join Team Cross Cancer Institute or create your own team and Just Give’r.

A Virtuous Cycle


Readers of this blog know that I pledged to ride, run, swim and paddle 8,000 km in under a year in support of cancer research, prevention and care at the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

I used to run a lot when I was younger…and running 3-4 times a week kept me in touch with not only the physical and mental health benefits of running, but also the well of creativity that one can access when pushing hard physically…the turning off of the chattering mind and turning on of the benefits of flow.

Frankly I made the pledge to cover 8,000 km on a bit of a whim…I was reading about the 40th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope just as it was announced that my annual Ride to Conquer Cancer had been cancelled.  As a supporter of cancer research I wanted to do something and the Give’r Project was born.

Stuck inside on a trainer for the most part I had started to flag last week…feeling isolated and wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew.  But now, 6 weeks and 950 km in,  I feel like I have crested a big hill.  I feel stronger all of a sudden, and the riding is less drudgery and more inspiration.  I have tapped that well and where there was boredom, isolation and anxiety I am now experiencing expansiveness, wellness and creativity.

I heard someone say today, related to the pandemic, “…tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

I’m feeling it.  If you are having a hard time getting moving, maybe you should just Give’r.

 

The Give’r Project


On April 12th, 2020, the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, Team Giver and I will begin a commitment to cover 8,000 kms across Canada cycling, running, swimming and walking on Strava to fund raise for cancer research.

The Motivation

On April 9th we learned that the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer is postponed until next year due to CoVid-19.

The Ride has been the single largest fundraiser annually in support of cancer research, clinical trials, prevention and care in Alberta for 11 years, and the need continues. I’ve spent the last couple days wondering what I can do to help.

One thing is certain…without the critical funding that the Ride and countless events like it provides lives will be lost. If you are able to, amid all this upheaval, and if you still want to support the work of the Alberta Cancer Foundation, please join Team Giver and fund raise alongside me for this cause that affects us all.

Whether through cancer research or clinical trials, the work that the ACF does here in Alberta benefits everyone around the world. If you want to create a Give’r Ride to support your local foundation where you are let’s do that too! Join Team Giver on Facebook hit me up and we’ll create a new fundraising page.

If you aren’t a rider, or a runner, but want to continue to support, please consider a donation through the Give’r Project here:

100% of your donation will go to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

How far we’ve come

On October 11, 2020 I will celebrate 15 years as a cancer survivor. 2020 is our 14th straight year fundraising and riding so that others diagnosed with cancer might be saved the way I was. Along the way we’ve raised over $96,800 together, and our teams have now raised over $638,000. This is all because of your generosity, and your belief in the cause.

Team Give’r Across Canada

On April 12th, 2020, the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, Team Give’r and I will begin a commitment to cover 8,000 km cycling, running, swimming and walking on Strava…in 365 days…all over Canada. Many of you will know that this was the planned distance of Terry’s cross-Canada odyssey beginning in 1980…cut short by lung cancer.

This will be a challenge in a number of ways…not least of which that I’ve personally never done anything like this before. The challenge is nothing beside the trials that Canadians facing cancer and their families go through every day. With your generosity, important breakthroughs will continue to be made in the pursuit of cures and treatments for cancer.

Toward a World Free from Cancer

As an advocate for the cancer community I’ve said countless times that our goal is “to see a world free from cancer in my lifetime”. I’m 52. From everything I have seen and heard I am convinced we are only 10 short years away from the reality of a world free from cancer…when the overwhelming majority of cases cancer will be curable.

My Story

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer on October of 2005…a diagnosis that only 40 years ago would have been a certain death sentence. Luckily there is more to my story. Because of private funding for cancer research testicular cancer is now curable in over 80% of cases.

After successful surgery and a clean CT scan we opted for regular surveillance – blood tests, x-rays and scans – in the hope of avoiding further treatment. Christmas of 2006 brought the unhappy news of enlarged lymph nodes in my abdomen, confirming that the cancer had spread. I was prescribed a 9-week course of chemotherapy after a panel of experts reviewed the results of 2 scans. The treatment was life threatening in itself, with frightening side effects, but I emerged in April battered but with a clean bill of health. Victory.

Having been through diagnosis, surgery, surveillance and chemotherapy I can say from experience how extraordinary our cancer control system is in Canada. My survival is a testament to how important ongoing cancer research is. Cancer research quite literally saved my life.

If you want to join Team Give’r and support either the ACF or your own local provincial foundation, like Team Giver on Facebook and hit me up. Our goal is for Team Give’r to spread wherever it can until we finally see a World Free From Cancer.

Follow our progress on Instagram: @Andrew_Gregory and on Twitter: @Andrew_Gregory @teamgiver

Thanks for reading!

3 Days on the SnowBoard


Now over 50, I am beginning to notice that 3 days on the board is a worthwhile benchmark.

This past weekend myself and 5 old friends got together for our high-school/University annual at Whistler.  I pre-paid for 3 days on the mountain (it ain’t $60 for a lift ticket anymore) and was ecstatic that the body held up throughout the hard riding and late nights.

You want to be able to charge for 3 days in a row when you get the chance…whether surfing, cycling, hiking, paddling…whatever.

That’s why we work out.