Pushing Away the Stigma with Damon Jaenke


Damon Jaenke knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles in his life both mentally and physically but anyone who has had the privilege of spending some time with him can vouch that Damon doesn't let these obstacles get in his way when he sets his mind to something - including an epic challenge in support of LIVIN.

"Growing up in a smaller town with a disability was not easy but it was also not as bad as it could have been." Said Damon from his home in Mackay. "I have overcome a lot in my life including having testicular cancer not once but twice with the second lot of cancer resulting in having to undergo chemo which is what really took a toll on my mental health." 

Eighteen months after his chemotherapy treatment finished Damon had what he describes as a complete 'breakdown' and reached a point that he felt he had no option but to reach out for help.   "My moods, energy levels and tolerance of other people plummeted and I woke up one day and just didn't want to be here anymore." Said Damon. "Something within me snapped, I had reached my tipping point. This was the day I attempted to end my life." 

"After I did it, a voice in my head said 'Drive to the hospital' which I did and was then on suicide watch. I look back at my mental breakdown as the turning point when I chose to rebuild and shape my life in a more happy and positive way."  

Through the support of his family, friends, his team mates in his wheelchair basketball team the Queensland Spinning Bullets and his psychologist, Damon now commits his energy to being the best he can be both physically and mentally whilst encouraging others to do the same and is one of the main reasons he will be participating in this years Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon for Team LIVIN. 

"I am doing the marathon because I've always wanted to do a marathon and I couldn't think of a better time to do one than to represent a charity organisation that is doing so much in the community when so many people are struggling." Said Damon. 

Like many participants in this years Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon Damon is getting involved purely for a purpose and to support a message that means a lot to him. 

"The Gold Coast Marathon wont be about 'times' for me, it will be about getting to the finish line, having a laugh and spreading the message that 'It Ain't Weak to Speak'."   Which is what life is all about. 

If you are wanting to support Damon in his participation in this years Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon, click here and show him some LIVIN love!