A Worthing pensioner who literally fought his way back from cancer treatment has said it was the thought of returning to the gym that kept him going.
Richard Simmons, 68, was diagnosed with cancer in his right thigh bone and nodules in his lungs in September last year.
Aggressive treatment whittled his right thigh bone down to one quarter of its usual circumference and a titanium bar had to be implanted to support his weakened leg.
His leg muscle and mobility deteriorated significantly, but he has praised staff at The Bar Gym in Bath Place, Worthing, with getting him back on his feet.
“The thought of coming back kept me going,” he said.
“Nick and Mike visited me in hospital and at home and encouraged me. I am so grateful for it, it gave me the impetus to try and carry on. It’s all so lovely, it’s like a family here.”
Nick Brewer and Mike O’Hagan have ran The Bar Gym as a non-profit entity for ten years. It was recently granted registered charity status.
Richard, a former aerospace engineer, moved to Worthing in 2015 and had been going to the gym for around two years prior to his diagnosis.
He only returned three weeks ago, but is already undertaking two to three 30-minute workouts a week, including four minute rounds of boxing sparring.
A major part of The Bar Gym’s offering is its support for children and people in rehabilitation, working with schools and doctors to help improve the fitness and mobility of people undergoing treatment.
Seventy-one-year-old Vivien Lee is a black belt in kickboxing and has trained at The Bar Gym for several years.
She works out twice a week on average and credits the gym with keeping mobile as she moves into her seventies.
“The gym is very important for keeping age at bay,” she said. “Without it I would be out there hobbling around. It’s not just the physical effects, but the psychological ones.”
Vivien works with Nick, 50, who has been involved with martial arts for more than 25 years, on fighting and fitness workouts.
He said people like Vivien and Richard were inspirational to people of any age and that while regimes like theirs took willpower, everyone had it in them.