The Crusaders celebrate overcoming adversity, facing challenges head on, and never giving up. There are few people who exemplify these qualities more than Josh Komen.
Once a leading track and field star with his sights set on the Commonwealth Games, the West Coaster’s life was thrown into turmoil with two cancer diagnoses, multiple heart attacks, and a stem cell transplant that saved his life. All while battling years of depression.
Josh has since become a leader in mental wellbeing and conscious breathing. His immune system bounced back, his outlook on life improved, and he now leads people through what he’s learned in the hope of improving lives – including the Crusaders.
One of the main elements of his recovery and success? Cold exposure through cold showers and ice baths. He came into the Crusaders environment to present to the team and returned in week 2 of competition to run a meditation and ice bath session for players.
So why are we talking about Josh now? He’s crusading with heart to raise money for the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust, who run Ranui House near Christchurch Hospital, by setting an unofficial New Zealand ice bath record.
On 29 March, he’ll stay in the bath for 20 minutes – or longer – all while raising money for the Trust. At the time of writing, he had raised nearly $19,000.
Individuals and teams could also sign up to raise money by doing a cold shower challenge, with 15 teams so far all doing their bit to contribute to Josh’s donation to Ranui House.
Fresh from an ice bath with players at Rugby Park, Josh spoke about why he regularly submerged his body in water that hovers between 10-15 degrees Celsius.
“For me personally, it helps my immune system, it helps my neurological system, and it helps build mental resilience, learning to be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation,” Josh said.
“Today we also did a breathing session, a mindfulness session and some meditation. Understanding the breath, we can calm ourselves down and we can be comfortable.”
Josh describes Ranui house as “a beacon of support and a pillar of connection” that made his recovery possible.
“My family and I spent 474 nights there during the time I was getting treatment and it was just paramount to have family so close to me whilst I was getting this long-term treatment,” he said.
“Family and friends are the foundation of health, that’s where it all starts, we need that connection.”
So how do you mentally prepare for 20+ minutes in an ice bath? What do you say to yourself?
“I’ve had cancer twice, I’ve had a bone marrow transplant, I’ve been 10 times worse than 20 minutes of cold therapy. I’ve been through a lot worse, simple as that.”
The Crusaders, through their foundation Crusade With Heart, have jumped on board and set up a team raising money towards Josh’s efforts. Want to join the crusade?