IN 2007, Gary Thwaites had the fright of his life when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
Early detection and surgery to remove his prostate led to a full recovery and now, at the age of 53, Detective Sergeant Thwaites will take on the country’s best veteran boxers at the Australian Masters Games in Adelaide from October 3 to 10.
Determined to make the most of his health after his fight against cancer, Sgt Thwaites, who is a regular contributor to the Melville Times’ Street Watch page, took up boxing, something he had always loved.
“I used to stay up late watching boxing on TV with my dad when I was a little boy, but I’d never taken the time to participate myself,” he said.
A corporate boxing event gave him the chance to give it a go four years ago in front of 1000 people.
“I had to fight someone 20 years younger than me and I lost, but I had the best black eye in the world,” he said.
“I thought one fight might quell my itch but it didn’t and I wanted the chance to fight again and try to square the ledger.”
At the Masters Games, Sgt Thwaites will fight against men his own age and weight, with similar experience and “hopefully with a Zimmer frame”.
“Now my chances are as good as anybody else’s,” he said.
Swallowing a diet of boxing videos and training up to five times a week at Myaree’s Gloveworkx gym,Sgt Thwaites is nervous but quietly confident about the Masters.
“After I had prostate cancer, I re-evaluated my life,” he said.
“Life is too short and there is no point in having regrets.”
]“I want to cram as much as I possibly can in because you don’t know when your time is up.”
Sgt Thwaites is using his appearance at the Masters Games as a fundraising opportunity and a way to help create a greater awareness around prostate cancer.
“Men don’t tend to talk about issues relating to their health like women,” he said.
Read more about the rising popularity of boxing here.