O’Gorman even stronger after journey of self-discovery
Canadian defender Grant O'Gorman at the King of the Court 2020 event in Utrecht, Netherlands in September.
Vancouver, Canada, November 11, 2020 – In his own words, Grant O’Gorman thought he was “a superhero and invincible”.
At the age of 26, the Canadian was playing around the planet on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and it seemed nothing could stop him.
That, however, changed last year.
The first signs something wasn’t quite right came during the summer of 2019 at a time when Grant was playing some of the the most important tournaments of his career, including the Beach Volleyball World Championships in Germany. A few months later, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
In the blink of an eye, Grant went from being an extremely healthy professional athlete to someone dealing with a serious health condition.
“I felt if something was not hurting my performance on the court it did not matter,” he explained. “I've learned that you must know your body well and if anything even seems a little off you should go see a doctor.”
Fortunately, after surgery signs are that his future will be exactly the way he had imagined it would be before the illness. The procedure was successful and there are no indications that the cancer has spread.
Grant and his fiancé Isabela have partnered up with Movember, an organization that helps spread awareness for men's health, to strengthen their message. And you can listen to their full story in the video below.
With the Tokyo Olympics postponed to the summer of 2021 and the qualification period extended accordingly, odds are Grant O'Gorman and partner Ben Saxton will remain in contention.
Grant O'Gorman (left) and partner Ben Saxton during last year's 3-star event in Edmonton
The team has won gold and silver medals in World Tour 3-star events in Sydney and Edmonton since they joined forces in 2018 and returned to action at the King of the Court 2020 tournament in Utrecht, Netherlands in September.
“The pandemic is awful and such a weird and difficult time for everyone, but I personally feel incredibly fortunate to not have to miss out on part of my volleyball dream. The number of tournaments next year will determine if we have a chance at the top 15 and our backup plan is the Continental Cup. The qualification would mean a lot, but we also want to go very deep into the tournament. Ben and I have both been through some tough things in these past years, so no matter the result, I am proud of what this team has overcome and thankful for all the great times we have had so far.”
Their journey will be documented on the YouTube channel Grant and Isabela have created.
“National team coach Steve Anderson was telling me that social media has the power to spread whatever message you want and I thought it would be a great idea to help spread awareness about testicular cancer,” Grant explained. “I also thought it would be great for Isabela and I to do something together and find motivation and inspiration somewhere else. It is helping us connect at a deeper level, have fun and distract our minds.”
“I recently got my Green Card, which allows me to play on the AVP in the United States, and since Isabela is Brazilian once we get married I’ll be able to play in Brazil too. So we’ll be travelling together on three different tours and sharing the experience with everyone while raising awareness for health and well-being, mostly focusing on cancer.”
And the main message they want to spread is the most valuable lesson Grant has learned from the entire saga.
“I learned that we are all vulnerable to anything at any time. You must know your body and be connected to it. You must give time to yourself and your health, regardless of who you are or what you do, we are not invincible. I was lucky enough to have such an amazing woman by my side, who showed me the value of being kind to yourself and truly paying attention to little things. If it wasn't for her, this process would have definitely been different. On top of that, I've learned that acknowledging difficult times in your life does not make you weak or different. It’s actually the opposite. Everyone goes through crazy things in their lives and we can help each other become better. It's okay to not be okay, it is okay to speak up, it is okay to be vulnerable. It makes us human beings, it is life.”