A tale of three amigos – and three cheaters

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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Here’s a death-defying story. A story of three men. Of three cheats. And of three reasons to celebrate life.

Lunch this week at the unassuming Bizzarro Italian restaurant in Paddington with Stuart Bull and Martyn Westbury did not, it must be said, involve the kind of portions it might have had a few years back. For each of our diners has very good reason to watch what they eat. Each of us has, quite simply, cheated death.

Stuart Bull, for so long the face of Mars chocolate in duty free (and now working with premium French chocolate house Valrhona and UK company Thorntons), is the most recent of the trio to have danced with death and then rejected it for a much nicer Tango partner called life.

Stuart was diagnosed late last year with oesophageal cancer, a very tough form of this always brutal beast of a disease.

Over recent months he’s been through complex surgery and tough chemotherapy and I’m glad to say that ‘Bully’ is looking better than ever, albeit I must say that his new slim-line look suggests he hasn’t been partaking of too much chocolate of late.

Lunch was on me to celebrate my own similar change of Salsa partners. Last month I was officially given the 5-year ‘all clear’ from the stomach cancer with which I was diagnosed on that fateful day, 9 June, 2010. I have become a statistic, contributing in the process to a marginal improvement of the 19.5% five-year survival rate of those diagnosed with stomach cancer.

I have no idea what the future holds or indeed how long it might be, but I have made it through the storm so far and, most importantly, seen all my beautiful, beloved children grow another five years older. Heck (note to older ones to hurry up), I might even see them married and giving me grandchildren before I depart this earth.

And Martyn, another man originally from Mars (the company not the planet)? Well, as I wrote in a previous Blog, he suffered a major heart attack while on a work trip in Mumbai, India, in 2010.

As he told us at the time: “I have been extremely lucky as part of the clot managed to pass through the artery itself and the remaining 60% blockage was able to be treated through angiography and drugs.”

The reality is that Martyn was minutes, yes minutes, away from dying. The reality is that both Stuart and I were both diagnosed just in time to save our lives. The reality is that we are all committed to trying to save more lives threatened by heart disease and cancer.

More of that another time. Let’s just stop for a moment, as we did over lunch, and celebrate three survival stories. Sometimes it’s good to hang around with a bunch of cheats.

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  • Hello dear cheaters… I would never have imagined to send love and hugs to a cheater.. But in this case I am sending you all loads!! Martyn, your article is such a wonderful reminder to Celebrate Life.. That we sometimes do not do because we keep waiting for something special to happen!! As the wise man said, life isn’t about the number of breaths we take but it’s number of moments your breath has been taken away… And I must admit I shared many of such moments with your Bully and also some with Martyn Westbury. Yes, I was laughing so much that I couldn’t breath!!
    Cheers to you all and keep on cheating and celebrating!

  • Three great fellas imbibing the juice that will see them celebrating for years to come! Nothing’s gonna stop you now!

  • Life – always a good reason to celebrate and am very happy to see 3 lovely people doing so. I hope the wine portions didn’t have to be cut back like the food now that would be a tragedy 🙂 Thank you for sharing Martin and reminding us all to celebrate our own also. Sharon

  • You’ll use any old excuse for a decent lunch and a glass of something decent! What a fantastic hat trick and hope there’ll be many more celebratory lunches