Otto Bock’s Dave Buchannan sets world record
David Buchanan set a world record for cycling off-road between Cardiff and Caernarfon. Photograph: Simon Powdrill/@Loco Tuning
David Buchanan considers himself “a lucky guy”.
The 44-year-old prosthetics expert and world record breaker survived cancer when he was 23 and although he refused to let it take hold of his life, it has certainly had an impact.
The disease prompted a career change and, as Buchanan admits, it changed his outlook on life. Since having cancer, he has also set a world record for endurance cycling and has plans for doing another one before his 50th birthday.
“I’ve always been very determined. Now I’m perhaps more determined as I’ve become successful at what I do but I bear people in mind. I was terrible at that.”
He adds: “Before I was ill, if someone had a problem and I couldn’t see a solution, it wasn’t in my nature to seek one, but now it most certainly is.”
At 23, Buchanan, originally from Glasgow, was working for the Ministry of Defence in Wales. He volunteered for RAF mountain rescue on the weekends. He was physically very fit and had just started dating a girl.
One evening, while he was with his mountain rescue team, he felt a lump in his stomach. He remembers, “It wasn’t sore, but it felt like it was in the way.”
He went to the doctor who confirmed that he had bowel cancer. An operation followed as well as six months of chemotherapy. Throughout, Buchanan kept up a gruelling fitness regime training three times a day as well as cycling 20 miles each way to chemotheraphy. He was also determined to stay at mountain rescue and admits, “I’ve got a particular mind that means if I decide to do something, I’ll do it.”
After cancer, the girl he had started seeing two weeks before he was diagnosed, Jo, was still with him and training to be a physiotherapist. He helped her to study and “got on quite well with the theory behind it.” Jo suggested he look at getting into orthotics and prosthetics. He secured a place at Salford University and gained a first in his degree. Now, he has an international role where he tours giving education seminars and providing consultancy on orthotics.
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Many thanks to The Guardian for this great article.