If you look at Matt Cable and his life in 2022, you might think he's the epitome of the American Dream. The United States Air Force veteran and former Titan Games competitor will compete in both the Invictus Games and the Warrior Games this year, and he's also enjoying life as a father to a new baby. The 31-year-old is now loving life but he has overcome a lot to get to this point, including two battles with leukemia which led to him being placed on life support.
"Lucky to be alive," Cable said. To understand what this really means to him, you have to know his story of staying alive. After playing five sports in high school, he focused on wrestling in college. However, he shifted his focus from school to ministry.
“I went to criminal justice school. I wanted to get my career off the ground and I figured if I joined the Air Force I could take it a little faster," he said. So he enrolled in 2012 and made his way to basic training. It would not be long before he found himself working in security and law enforcement alongside other duties.
He seemed well on his way to achieving his goals, but in 2014 a major obstacle stood in his way. While stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, he was diagnosed with leukemia. During his first chemotherapy he contracted an infection that led to complete organ failure. He was on life support for 18 days. Over the course of those two and a half weeks, he lost 60 pounds. When he first saw himself in the mirror, he didn't see the previously fit and muscular version of himself he was used to, but he had no doubt that he could regain his familiar form.
"My mom just sat there, devastated, and I kept thinking, 'Well, I've got to beat it.' Cable said clearly. “I saw myself in the mirror and said everything will come back. I just have to put the work in and keep going.”
Over the next few months, he did just that. Cable would beat leukemia and return to his familiar 215-pound body weight. t only did he regain his fitness; He was able to show his results and his story to the world when he joined the contestants of The Titan Games season one. His story and skill even impressed host Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
"He actually called me a beast on live TV," he proudly explained. "He came up to me backstage, shook my hand and said I killed her. He's a super cool guy, just like you would think when you see him."
Courtesy of Titan Games/Matt Cable
Matt Cable didn't win the Titan Games, but he managed to resume his military career and was even assigned to a mission to Qatar. Unfortunately, his trip would be much shorter than he expected.
"I don't know if it was the climate I was in, bad air quality or what, but I immediately relapsed," he said. Within months of his deployment, he required medical transport back to the United States and was admitted to Walter Reed Hospital for a second time to battle leukemia. The 40-day trial was tough, and he was eventually back on life support due to a fungal infection that he said should have killed him, but he managed to defeat it a second time. This time he found support from a new source, a woman named Ensley, who originally saw him at the Titan Games. Ensley, a former Miss Florida, Ensley battled breast cancer himself and she became familiar with his story watching him compete. She told her parents that she had found her husband. After connecting on Instagram and making several Facetime calls while he was abroad, she decided to travel from Florida to Walter Reed to be with Cable during this time.
"Our first meeting was at Walter Reed's," he shared. "She looked after me throughout chemotherapy, and she was actually there while I was on life support."
After his stint with Walter Reed, Matt Cable relocated to Arizona to be closer to the Mayo Clinic. He received further treatment there while fulfilling his duties, which have been limited by both his struggle and the pandemic. Ensley went with him and they have been together ever since.
Due to his relapse, it was decided that Cable should end his active military career. He will be medically retired later this year after ten years of service. Even though his commitment to the ministry was curtailed, he and Ensley made their own commitment in the form of marriage.
"She hasn't left my side since we met," said the two-time leukemia survivor. "We got married last year, in the middle of the pandemic." They received another blessing in the form of their son, who was born in December 2021.
"We shouldn't be able to have a child," he explained. "With what we've both been through, it shouldn't be possible, but he's here."
Courtesy of Matt Cable
Matt Cable is also returning to training and competing. As of this writing, he will represent the USA when he competes in both Invictus Games in the Netherlands and he will compete in the Warrior Games where he will represent the Air Force. Matt Cable still exercises at least five days a week and credits fitness with being a big part of why he's where he is today.
“The training really hasn't changed. I do powerlifting, rowing and keep up my cardio. I'm also a sprinter. So I train CrossFit hard to maintain my explosiveness — moves like cleans and box jumps.”
Matt Cable has overcome a lot and wants to use his journey and example to help others who may be struggling with their own struggles. He shared a quote he often refers to when speaking about his experiences.
“Our biggest weakness is giving up. You have to turn that off and try again and again. Just never give up and keep going.”