In high school I was always known as the skinny kid. So at 15, I joined an after-school gym and started lifting weights. When I finished graduate school, I started lifting more seriously, and I entered my first powerlifting competition in 2011 at the Ottawa Open where I placed 3rd in the Open category. I initially competed equipped, which means a bench shirt and a squat suit. However, I switched to raw lifting after that competition since I find it a more natural challenge.
My plans were abruptly halted when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, which eventually spread and metastasized in 2015. I continued lifting throughout rounds of treatment at the Ottawa Hospital.In fact, I missed only a handful of training sessions in over 10 years of powerlifting. Lifting became part of my fight against cancer. Doctors couldn't believe I was lifting weights. One doctor told me most of his patients could barely make it to the parking lot.
While undergoing treatment in 2015, I competed in the Ontario Provincials and won 2nd place in the Open bench press, despite being weak from radiation and down 15 pounds from my normal weight. I have competed every year since, improving constantly. In 2019, I won gold in Western Regionals and the Ontario Provincials Masters bench press. Lifting is so much a part of my lifestyle and a solid balance against the intellectual work I do as a university professor. I aim to keep lifting weights for as long as I can.