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The High Performance Podcast

Facing death taught me how to truly live with David Smith MBE (E215)

The High Performance Podcast
The High Performance Podcast

“Paralysis taught me how to live”

This emotional conversation is an honest and vulnerable discussion about life, death and understanding our purpose.

In 2010, David Smith was given a life changing diagnosis: a rare, cancerous tumour was found in his neck. A focused athlete, previously competing in karate, running and bobsled, David aimed to put all of his energy into competing in the 2012 Paralympic games as a rower; “I didn’t have time for a tumour”. But, after having surgery on the tumour, David suffered a stroke. This was the start of a new life for David.

After multiple surgeries and a number of complications, David is now fully paralysed on his left side. Despite winning gold for Rowing with Team GB at the 2012 Paralympics, what really stands out is David’s appreciation for every moment, his resilience, and his deep understanding of what it means to really live. In the face of battling cancer and living with paralysis, David's unwavering commitment to his purpose and daily philosophy shines through. He shares the importance of embracing vulnerability and the preciousness of time.

A total of 6 major life-threatening spinal surgeries in 13 years, 6 weeks of radiotherapy and learning to walk after each operation meant his sporting career became more about staying alive than winning medals. David shares his profound wisdom with Jake and Damian, exploring how he is attempting to come to terms with death and how he finds strength in vulnerability.

We’re left with the core of David’s message: “I’m not scared of dying, I’m scared of not living.”

This was recorded in front of a live audience at Happy Place Festival, there may be some background noise.

Follow David's journey here: https://www.instagram.com/davidsmithmbe/?hl=en

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