Checking back in on a true ironman

When we first featured the story of Bruno and his mission to complete a half-ironman while battling stage III melanoma, it struck a chord with many of our members and followers.

Given that was back in 2020, we thought it was time for an update on the young father’s journey – and it’s certainly been an eventful couple of years.

“It’s been a real rollercoaster, but I’m very pleased to report that it’s had many more ups than downs. Firstly – and most importantly – I’m still cancer free, thanks to my cutting-edge treatment that was made possible by clinical trials,” Bruno said.

“Every time I get the results from my six-monthly PET scan, my family orders our favourite takeaway and my wife and I open a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. We don’t take anything for granted these days as you never know what’s around the corner.”

In June of this year, Bruno took his triathlon ambitions to the next level, completing the full Ironman Cairns event: a gruelling 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run all completed consecutively and without rest.

Not only did Bruno finish, he placed in the top 45% of competitors, crossing the finish line in just under 12 hours.

“That was such a surreal and euphoric moment. I was in a world of pain physically, but when I realised that I’d actually done it and heard the roar of the crowd, I was absolutely over the moon. I wore my Ironman medal for that whole week and just took it all in.”

But completing the Ironman brought back lots of emotions for Bruno, as it was while training for the half event that his doctor informed him that the mole on his back was a stage III-D melanoma that had spread and was now dangerously close to his lung.

“The prognosis wasn’t positive, so I didn’t know if I’d be able to continue with my training or make it to the event. So now, to have gone the full distance, it really makes me appreciate just how lucky I’ve been and how far I’ve come. It’s very humbling.”

When travel restrictions eased in early 2022, Bruno and his family were finally able return to his birth-country of France – the first time he’d been back since his diagnosis.

“It was incredible to be home and catch up with friends and family. It was a very emotional reunion seeing my parents again, but we didn’t dwell on the past or worst-case scenarios. Instead, we just focused on what really matters: coming together, spending quality time with loved ones, and being thankful for the good stuff in our lives.”

So having completed an Ironman, what’s next on Bruno’s list?

“I’m done with big endurance events for now. I’m just happy to get out there and be in a position where I’m able to exercise. You never know what the future has in store for you or what the next scan may bring, so for now, I’m enjoying the journey. I’m soaking everything in, just like I did when I crossed that finish line in Cairns!”

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