AFTER five years of surgeries, job losses, having melanomas removed and doctors telling him he would never do muay thai again, Langford resident Gordon Young is returning to the sport feeling as strong as ever.
The 29-year-old is about to head to Thailand to train in muay thai for six weeks and said hearing and reading other people’s stories about how they came back from tough situations had motivated him.
Mr Young loves muay thai, but it was the sport, as well as a birth defect, that was causing problems in his knees.
After being told he needed surgery to fix it, he went under the knife four times between 2011 and 2013, including patellae realignment of both knees and MACI cartilage grafting in his left knee.
His attempts to return to his job in the mining industry were complicated by the fact that his weight had ballooned to 140kg, and would place too much strain on his knees.
His employer told him if he lost weight, he would be able to return.
But it was not just injuries that caused issues.
“I had a few other serious medical issues in the mix there that just complicates the story – liver issues and I had a large melanoma or skin cancer removed from my lower back in January just gone,” he said.
Then there was also the question of money, with Mr Young estimating he has spent about $75,000 out of his own pocket, on top of insurance coverage.
During these tough times that also tested his relationship with his partner Cat, he sought help from other people’s stories, including Samuel Ballantyne, for inspiration.
Mr Ballantyne lost more than 30kg through boxing after succumbing to a drug and alcohol addiction.
Mr Ballantyne is now his trainer and part of the reason Mr Young got back into muay thai.
“The most important thing to me is that I can possibly be to others what Sam was to me and that it shows a positive mindset and hard work can overcome unimaginable obstacles,” Mr Young said.
Mr Young is now back doing the sport he loves, enjoying life and he even got engaged last month.
“I didn’t realise, it is a bit of a Cinderella story really,” he said.