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“12 times floored… 13 times standing” - René François’ Story


René learned fast that being a Free Athlete gave him the ability to test and push his body, and more importantly, his mind, to new limits. Little did he know that this struggle was fortifying him to fight an adversary that would take all his strength to defeat. This is his story.

Boris Cyrulnik defines resilience as “the ability to succeed, to live, to thrive in spite of adversity” and “the resumption of a new life after a trauma.”

Resilience in sport, or through sport, is an excellent tool to overcome the difficulties we encounter in our lives. Coupled with mental strength, it can work miracles and prevent us from sinking where others will drown.

I am now 42 years old and have been a Free Athlete for roughly 8 years. I came across the app at a time of my life when I needed to get back on track - the idea appealed to me straight away.

More than just any sport, Freeletics enabled me to know myself in depth, to shape my character, and to develop an iron determination. In my everyday life, this strength of character has become a true ally, it helps me cope with events that test me.

The day I found out I was suffering from stage IV colon cancer, which metastasized to my liver, was a blessing.

There is a time for everything in life, and if one day I wanted to sweat from a workout like Dione or Artemis again, it would have to be after a “blank year”— a year where my mind, and more specifically my resilience, would become my leitmotiv to achieve the biggest goal of my life: recovery.

By far the most difficult deity I’ve ever had to challenge and face, cancer is a dreadful opponent and you have to accept going through hell in order to see the sun shining again.

It doesn’t matter if you fall — there are no victories without any risks. Dropping to one knee gives you some respite, but cancer is not a battle that you can win on your own or if you rest for long. Luckily, our loved ones are never too far to remind us that giving up isn’t an option.

For me, 12 rounds of chemotherapy and several operations were necessary to overcome the disease.

12 times floored.. 13 times standing!!!

Studies show that exercise significantly reduces the risk of relapse. So, even if the stigma of this battle prevents me from doing some things I’d like to, today I am here, I am standing, I am alive and I am even stronger than before. A better version of myself, ready to fight in…

five, four, three, two, one…

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