Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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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.