If you were to look at Matt Cable and his life in 2022, you may think he is the epitome of the American dream. The United States Air Force veteran and former Titan Games competitor is set to compete in both the Invictus Games and Warrior Games this year, and he’s also enjoying life as a father to a new baby boy. The 31-year-old is loving life today, but he’s overcome a lot to reach this point, including two fights with leukemia that led to being placed on life support.
“Lucky to be alive,” said Cable. To understand what that truly means to him, you have to know his story of how he has stayed alive. After playing five sports in high school, he focused on wrestling in college. However, he shifted his focus from school to service.
“I was going to school for criminal justice. I had wanted to get my career going, and I thought that I could get it moving a little quicker if I joined the Air Force,” he said. So, he enlisted in 2012, and he was off to basic training. It wouldn’t be long before he was working in security and law enforcement, among other duties.
He appeared to be well on his way to fulfilling his goals, but a major roadblock got in his way in 2014. While he was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He received an infection during his first round of chemotherapy and that resulted in complete organ failure. He was on life support for 18 days. Over the course of that two and a half weeks, he lost 60 pounds. When he first saw himself in a mirror, he didn’t see the previously fit and muscular version of himself that he was used to, but he had no doubt that he could regain his familiar form.
“My mom was sitting there devastated, and I just kept thinking to myself, ‘well, I gotta beat it.’ Cable said clearly. “I saw myself in the mirror, and I just said that it will all come back. I just gotta put the work in and keep moving forward.”
Over the next several months, he did just that. Cable would beat leukemia and return to his familiar bodyweight of 215 pounds. He not only regained his fitness; he was able to show off his results and story to the world when he joined the contestants on the first season of The Titan Games. His story and ability even impressed the host, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“He actually called me a beast on live television,” he explained proudly. “He came up to me backstage, shook my hand, and said that I killed it. He’s a super cool dude, just as you would think when you see him.”
Matt Cable didn’t win the Titan Games, but he managed to resume his military career, and he was even assigned to go on a mission to Qatar. Unfortunately, his trip would be much shorter than he expected it to be.
“I don’t know if the was the climate I was in, bad air quality, or what, but I immediately relapsed,” he said. Within months of him being deployed, he had to be medevact back to the United States, and he was checked in to Walter Reed hospital to battle leukemia for the second time. The 40-day process was a tough one, and he would once again be on life support at one point due to a fungal infection that he said should have killed him, but he managed to beat it a second time. This time, he found support from a new source, a woman named Ensley, who originally saw him on the Titan Games. Ensley, a former Miss Florida, Ensley was fighting breast cancer herself, and she became familiar with his story while watching him compete. She told her parents that she had found her husband. After connecting on Instagram and having several Facetime calls while he was overseas, she decided to travel from Florida to Walter Reed to be with Cable during this time.
“Our first-time meeting was at Walter Reed,” he shared. “She took care of me through all the chemo’s, and she was actually there while I was on life support.”
After his stay at Walter Reed, Matt Cable moved to Arizona so he could be closer to the Mayo Clinic. He received further treatments there while performing what duties he could, which was limited by both his battle and the pandemic. Ensley went with him, and they have been together since.
Because of his relapse, the decision was made that Cable should end his active military career. After a ten-year commitment to service, he will be medically retired later this year. Even though his commitment to service was cut short, 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, right in the middle of the pandemic.” They received another blessing in the form of their son, who was born in December of 2021.
“We weren’t supposed to be able to have a kid,” he explained. “With what we both have been through, it wasn’t supposed to be possible, but he is here.”
Matt Cable is also focused on training and competing again. As of this writing, he is set to represent the U.S. when he competes in both the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, and he will enter the Warrior Games, where he will represent the Air Force. Matt Cable still trains at least five days a week, and credits fitness for being a big part of why he is where he is today.
“Training really hasn’t changed. I’m doing powerlifting, rowing, and keeping my cardio up. I’m also a sprinter. So, I go hard on CrossFit to keep my explosiveness up – movements like cleans and box jumps.”
Matt Cable has overcome a lot, and he wants to use his journey and example as a way to help others who may be dealing with their own struggles. He shared a quote that he references often when he speaks about his experiences.
“Our greatest weakness is giving up. You’ve got to turn that off and always try this one more time. Just never give up and keep moving forward.”