Mark’s Story

At 17 Mark was involved in a road traffic accident. His head injuries were life changing; the impact had destroyed his optic nerve leaving mark with no residual sight whatsoever. Mark has agreed to share his story with us.

Mark had to come to terms with living life in complete darkness. Despite this Mark learnt braille, went onto achieve a 1st class degree in Human Biology from Anglia Ruskin University and a Masters in Immunology from Manchester University.

7 years ago he met William. Life changed positively for Mark with William’s support and they married 18 months ago.

3 years ago Mark was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was given chemotherapy and radiotherapy and went into remission last year. Although, a side effect of the treatment had caused Mark to put on 4st in weight. Coupled with ongoing hormone problems and steroids Mark was told he would never lose weight or wear his old clothes again.

Mark saw this as a challenge and asked William to book an appointment with his GP. William said “The GP put us both on a fitness programme to follow which we both took to enthusiastically and with more enjoyment than we ever thought possible! At the end of the programme a leaflet for our local YMCA gym came through the letterbox. After our GP’s approval we both signed up to the monthly membership.”

With the help of Martin, a volunteer at YMCA who put together a special programme adapted to Mark’s abilities, Mark has now lost 3 ½ stone and 8 inches around his waist. William has lost 1 ½ stone and 2 inches around his waist.

Mark is now wearing clothes he never thought he would be able to wear again and has even bought new clothes 2 sizes smaller.

William said “his body shape is almost beyond recognition. His enthusiasm for life has returned and his confidence is higher than I can ever remember”.

Mark and William continue to follow a calorie controlled diet which has inspired Mark even more in his cooking. Both visit the gym 4 times a week with Mark having additional assistance for one session. Mark’s other personal trainer Colin Hanmer, has complemented Martin’s training approach by giving Mark a more structured and targeted approach in addition. Mark’s improved mobility means they are able to get out and do more things as a couple.

Both agreed “We can not recommend the facilities and staff at YMCA highly enough. We actively miss the gym on our rest days”.

Mark said “Coming to the gym has completely changed my life. At the start of the year I was 4 stone heavier and almost housebound due to my cancer medication, even simple tasks became a struggle.”
He continued “…with the help from Martin and encouragement from William I am now fitter than I was at 17. I am more confident with my body and ability to do different things. Martin takes the time to plan my session so anything is possible, even running around Parkers Piece in Cambridge – something I never thought I would be able to do.”


October 2018- Mark is still regularly attending our YMCA Gym and him and his partner have done a video interview with us.