At 30 August in 2019 Jorge Fonseca became the first man to become World Champion for Portugal. Suddenly all the work and efforts were paid out in a medal. Besides the extraordinary achievement, it was very special because of a his physical condition a few years ago where Fonseca was diagnosed with cancer.
“I was diagnosed with cancer a year before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. It was a really bad moment in my life. Before the diagnosis I was feeling very confident and well prepared, physically and mentally. And then I got the news... To begin with I didn’t managed the situation very well. I couldn’t believe that it was happening to me. I kept asking 'why me?"
Cancer is not an easy disease. I went through such bad times. Because of the Olympic games, I asked my doctor to help me the quickest treatment. So they doubled my doses...the Chemotherapy was so tough, I was doing the treatment every two weeks, so I could have a chance to fight in Rio. I wanted it so bad and I wasn’t willing to give up my dream just because of cancer.
The cancer made me value myself, I went through the worst part of my life I was in a bad place and I managed to come out on top. Now I appreciate all those moments, I was able to overcome them and become World champion here in Tokyo.
I always had this question in the back of my mind, "Why me?" And I could never really come to terms with this.
The doctors and the good people I had around me made me realise the reality of living with cancer. The doctor took me to the IPO, an oncology unit in Lisbon.
I gave me such mixed feelings.
I could see the reality of young children struggling to deal with this disease
They wanted so badly to live a full life...
These were the moments that gave me strength... Seeing these children growing up without the opportunity to live.
At that time I had recently become a father…
I knew I had to be strong…..I had to be there for my son.
Everything that happened made me grow and made me into the person that I am today..
These moments made me the athlete that I am today. Those difficult moments helped make me.
In the future I hope to be able to help other people like the children in the IPO, the way judo helped me. Now I’m going to enjoy this medal and start working to the next months.