Aussie Cancer Survivor To Tackle Astonishing Cycling Challenge
Beating cancer or surviving an horrific car crash just aren't big enough hurdles for some people.
People like Mike Navybox, who has done both in recent years, and has set himself a new challenge.
The professional race car instructor wants to conquer Europe's three grand cycling tours -- Giro d'Italia, Le Tour De France and La Vuelta -- back to back. If he completes the marathon feat, he will become just the second amateur rider to ever do it.
Navybox was involved in a serious car crash in 2013. He sustained bleeding on the brain and serious neck injuries that saw him have three vertebrae fused together.
After overcoming his significant injuries, he knows it's going to be hard work, but he's looking on the bright side.
"Is it tougher than what I've been through? It is tougher than what other people are going through? I guess that's questionable," he told 10 News First.
Making it tougher, is Navybox's battles with depression and post traumatic stress disorder.
"Mentally, it's a rollercoaster," he said.
"I've had, without question, some really dark days. I know next week will be challenging."
In 2011, Navybox was diagnosed with kidney cancer. It was successfully removed, but the fear ahead of his three monthly checkups took a toll.
There was always a 50-50 chance the cancer would come back to kill him, and tests available in Australia weren't strong enough to see it early.
So Navybox flew to France instead. He took the Circulating Tumour Cell Test - the most sensitive of its kind -- which can detect cancerous cells early.
It saved his life.
"It gave me a plan to move forward and then I could positively, proactively take some action," he said.
His mind was at ease, but he wanted other cancer survivors to feel the same, so has lobbied to have the test brought to Australia.
Now, it's here at the National Institute of Integrative Medicine. The Institute is in Melbourne, but it can send test kits interstate.
So far, they've tested more than 2000 patients in Australia and detected cancer early in around half of them.
"When you find it early, you can do something about it in a nice, body saving, immune system saving fashion," Associate Professor Karin Ried told 10 News First.
Navybox's mission isn't just for cancer survivors though, it's also to raise awareness about mental health.
Beyond Blue Ambassador Brad McEwan marvels at his determination.
"When you hear someone like Mike talk openly about his mental health, and the struggles day to day, it empowers people around him, sometimes complete strangers, to say 'hey, this is alright'," he said.
To support Navybox, head to ridewithmike.com.au.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.