26 Mar 2019
HEIDI DOUGLASS | email@example.com
Martin Gregory is an adventure seeker. He has travelled 400 miles inside the Arctic Circle with a team of 8 dogs, scaled Cotapaxi Volcano in Ecuador, travelled 4,200 kilometres across Africa, travelled 1,200 kilometres through the Himalayas and trekked across the Owen Stanley Mountain range on the infamous Kokoda Track.
Clearly, Martin enjoys a challenge but 2 years ago he was faced with one of his greatest challenges to date when father Richard Paul Gregory was diagnosed with dementia.
Born in 1938 near Birmingham, ‘Paul’, as he was known throughout his life, married the love of his life Margaret Mary Eldridge in 1965 and became a father to two sons. He was a vastly humble and religious man, a fan of classical music and was a man that always put others first and himself last in the family to give every opportunity to his boys. He was Deputy Head Master of the local school and recognised by the Queen at a garden reception for his services to community and education.
“My Dad was an exceptionally encouraging father,” says Martin, who runs his own Consulting business that uses adventure as a background for developing High Performing Teams and improving the way leaders make decisions. Martin facilitates that type of experiential learning session on the General Manager Executive Education program through his partnership with AGSM at UNSW Sydney.
“My brother and I both always felt supported in our sporting endeavours and with our life choices.”
Martin Gregory with his father, Richard Paul Gregory.
In 2018, Paul Gregory passed away which prompted a desire in Martin to honour his father’s battle with dementia by raising funds for key research at UNSW Sydney’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA). His highly challenging fundraising endeavour is to compete in three rounds of boxing as part of a tournament through Corporate Fighter, which will be held at The Star in Sydney on Friday, 5th April in front of approximately 600 attendees.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he says, appreciating that boxing and brain health do not exactly go together and acknowledging that despite his love of adventure, he is a strong advocate for safety in sport.
“This is not professional boxing and we are all certainly well prepared and kitted out in the right protective gear,” says Martin.
When asked what his Dad would have thought of him participating in the Corporate Fighter event Martin believes he would have said boxing was a daft idea but, would have supported him regardless.
CHeBA Co-Director Professor Perminder Sachdev explains repetitive head trauma is a risk factor for cognitive decline. “Safety in sport is paramount for long-term brain health, and boxers and footballers are particularly at risk,” says Professor Sachdev. “Many sporting codes are examining their rules to reduce the risk of head injury and to prevent injured players from returning to the field before they have fully recovered. We are reassured by Martin’s emphasis on protective gear.”
Having already reached his extraordinary target of raising $10,000 for CHeBA’s research into Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Martin says the challenge will now be focusing on the self-dialogue in the lead up to such a physically demanding activity and remembering that it isn’t the biggest or strongest contender that goes home the winner in a boxing tournament.
“It’s what’s happening between your ears that’s critical,” Martin says, explaining that learning to manage breathing, train hard and maintain control in such a complex and physical environment has been appealing to him.
“My Dad always said ‘do your best’,” says Martin. “And I intend to in this fight, to respect my opponent and to be part of a fantastic fundraising evening to honour Dad’s own fight with dementia.”
To sponsor Martin please go to: https://cheba2.everydayhero.com/au/MG