[First published in Manchester Evening News – 13th January 2017]
A man who beat cancer and battled homelessness will fight on behalf of charities who helped turn his life around.
The 31-year-old found himself homeless and on the street in 2007 following a relationship breakdown – sleeping in parks and under Stockport viaduct.
But he says the Wellspring helped change his life – getting him into night school for qualifications, into housing and eventually back to work.
Mike also suffered from cancer twice as a youngster but managed to recover with treatment and help from Cancer Research.
He said: “An acquaintance told me about the Wellspring but I didn’t want to go at first as my confidence had taken a knock and I didn’t feel worthy enough to ask for help.
“Fortunately, I decided to swallow my pride and visit the centre. I thought they just provided food and didn’t think anything would come of it but they honestly changed my life.
“On entering the establishment I was greeted with a warm welcome from a lovely receptionist who asked if she could help and I broke down crying.
“It was a real eye opener and gave me the push and advice I needed to start getting my life back on track.”
Mike, who is also a newly-qualified lifeguard, gained GCSEs and says he is now ‘emotionally and physically in the best shape of my life’.
He is currently undergoing an eight week training programme – with 40 other contenders – ahead of the fight night at Bowlers Exhibition Centre on February 4. Previous charity work he has done includes runs and cake bakes.
Ahead of the bout Mike said: “It’s not just about fighting, but learning about fitness, nutrition, discipline and respect, and I’m thriving off it.
“I’m nervous about the big fight but I’m looking forward to it. Everyone taking part has worked so hard and motivated each other, so they’ll be mixed emotions on the night but a real sense of pride.
“I want to do all I can to try and make a difference to as many people as possible regardless of their appearance or their current situation.”
To sponsor Mike visit his justgiving.com page.