LESSONS FROM A PRO - Jade Diebelius

Jade Diebelius on holiday

Jade Diebelius on holiday

The latest “lessons from a Pro” blog is taking a slightly different twist. Rather than coming from a professional athlete, these lessons are coming from a young teacher called Jade. But I think her lessons are some of the best you will ever read.

I first met Jade in May 2019. I say met, in fact I’ve never actually met Jade face to face, but sometimes you don’t need to meet people in person for them to have an impact on your life.

Let me take you back to September 2018. Jade had recently moved into a new house with her boyfriend and the new term was just getting underway at school. She loved going to the gym and was a keen dancer. But within the first week of the new term, her life was turned upside down.

At the age of 25, Jade was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin Lymphoma. She received six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy. But the side effects of the treatment meant that she couldn’t do her job as a teacher and her normal routine completely went out the window. She also lost strength, fitness and motivation to exercise.

Jade at chemotherapy

Jade at chemotherapy

Jade was referred to MOVE Charity just as she was finishing her chemotherapy. MOVE is an organisation I am so proud to work for, following my complete career change from the BBC. I work two days a week for them as a Cancer and Exercise Rehab Specialist, supporting young people like Jade by helping them to help themselves to move more and build their strength and fitness, following a cancer diagnosis.

For two months, I spoke to Jade every week and set her a weekly exercise programme. Despite everything that she had been through, she always sounded so upbeat and positive. It was truly amazing to be able to support her.

Jade kept a blog and regular video diaries during her time with MOVE, and here’s what she had to say at the end of the 8 week online programme: These are Jade’s lessons from a Pro.

My final week! I can’t thank MOVE enough for their support over the last 8 weeks. I am so grateful.  Because of this programme, I can honestly say that I am stronger, more confident, happier and so much more motivated. I can’t believe how far I have come over the 8 weeks. 

My fitness has always been so important to me. Cancer temporarily took that away. I felt like I had lost who I was
— Jade Diebelius

Having a programme to follow has kept me going and in doing this I have started to see a reduction in the fatigue I am feeling post treatment. I have developed habits that are supporting my physical and mental well being.

I now practice yoga daily, which I love! I am also making sure that I am focusing on strengthening my knees and ankles and this has become part of my strengthening sessions.

Things I have learnt from my MOVE and cancer journey: 

  • Listen to my body and mind 

  • Start small and build up

  • Try new things without judgement

  • It’s okay to have a bad day 

  • Don’t compare myself to others or myself before cancer

  • Live in the moment and appreciate where I am

  • Have fun with exercise 

Hopes for the future 

  • Continue to strengthen my body so I am ready to go back to dancing

  • Support others

  • Use what I have learnt from MOVE to support radiotherapy and being back at work (listen to my body and manage fatigue)

  • Continue to get fitter and stronger

Jade - and her dog Willow - during the MOVE programme

Jade - and her dog Willow - during the MOVE programme

My fitness has always been so important to me. Cancer temporarily took that away. I felt like I had lost who I was. Part of the recovery, is finding acceptance and a new meaning in this strange and brutal new world as well as my place within it.

Instead of trying to get back to who I was, I am building a new me; someone I want to be. Picking parts of the old me that make sense and that I admire and then working at the new or adapted parts to build the me I want to be. 

With everything there are ups and downs. This part of my life has been and continues to be one crazy roller coaster that has brought me to some dark, but also amazing places.

On good days and not so good days, I remind myself that I am, as we all are, a work in progress. We must all keep MOVEing.

MOVE provide practical and online support to people living with and beyond cancer. MOVE focus their services on children and young people living with and beyond cancer and also a wider age range through the new 5k Your Way, Move Against Cancer initiative linked to Parkrun.