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Just Giving: Something Back

So, here I am a few hours away from the performance of my life to date. Jumping out of my comfort zone and leaping head first into the world of stand up comedy. I have to say that it has been an interesting journey to be quite honest, and I have run through a few rollercoasters of emotions. From committing to it (to be honest that was never an issue ), to actually facing the reality of walking onto an empty stage in front of a proper money-spending audience and seeking to make them laugh for 5 minutes by performing and delivering your own material, that was a real challenge.

But, and this is the point, life is for living, and in my case I am frankly lucky to be here. I almost met my maker at the end of last year, and nothing focuses the mind more than contemplating the end of your own life. Not that you want to, but cancer almost got me. In truth, I dodged a bullet, and that changes a lot about you. Suddenly, petty things become obscure, and what I came to realise is that the most precious commodity that there is is not material, or financial, far from it. It is the gift of time itself. Yes, might sound like pretentious nonsense, but actually it is not.

That is why I have done this, as I might never get the chance again, and that is why I am saying yes to requests that I get, be it Karate, or professionally related. I have the gift of life and it needs to be used. You don’t get two shots, just the one.

So, as for me, since being diagnosed, my attitude has been of a fortress mentality. Using my health and mental attitude to train the body as much as possible. Right or wrong, I do believe that if you make your body and mind strong, your will and spirit will support you. And of course, I realise that whatever cancerous mutations take place within you, you cannot materially change that, but by goodness, you can build up your armoury and defences to protect you as much as your mind and body will let you.

One key thing that I have learned from all this, is that no matter what, my lifetime in martial arts has equipped me so strongly to take this on and do my best to beat it.

It is 47 years since I started to follow the way, and I genuinely believe that all that has happened to date has been part of this journey. Of course I cannot predict the future, no one can, but I can do my human best to give me the best possible chance to fight, and keep fighting, right up to the end. And I will!

So keep strong and focused my friends. It is a f

undamental truth that the more you keep strong and positive, the greater your chance of survival.

So, Never Give Up, Never Give In.


Austin Birks

If you would like to donate to Cancer Research UK, here is my Just Giving page.

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