Tough Grandma cheats on death three times and becomes a powerlifter

Britain’s toughest grandmother has cheated death three times to become powerlifting champion and is still pumping iron aged 76.

Pat Reeves survived a high-speed car crash and two terminal cancer diagnoses.

She began weightlifting in 1982 when she was 36 after receiving her first terminal diagnosis of a brain tumor.

Pat Reeves weightlifting
Pat Reeves has cheated death three times to become a powerlifting champion and is still pumping iron at age 76.
Simon Galloway/Zenger

The grandmother of two switched to a plant-based diet and took up marathons and bodybuilding in hopes it would stop her slow-growing tumor.

Encouraged by her bodybuilding trainer to try powerlifting, she fell in love, quickly breaking records and securing titles in competitions she competed in.

For 10 years she traveled the world competing nationally and globally – in her prime she lifted 135 kilos (297 pounds) and weighed 42 kilos (92 pounds).

But in December 1993, at the age of 48, she was rocked by another terminal cancer diagnosis; This time she was told she had osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Refusing to let it defeat her, Reeves continued her healthy and active lifestyle to shrink the 14 tumors and was declared cancer-free in mid-2016.

In September 2018, she was involved in a high-speed crash on a German autobahn, killing her driver and the driver of the other vehicle.

The accident left her with crushed lungs and led to pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. She was told she had only three months to live as of June 2019.

Reeves refuses to let that hold him back, is still pumping iron and lifted an amazing 60.5 kilos (133 pounds) in March.

It was a new British Drug-Free Powerlifting Association (BDFPA) and World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation (WDFPF) record for her age and weight class – and she has no plans to stop.

Reeves, a nutritionist from Kingswinford in the West Midlands of England, said: “As soon as I got sick it sparked a competitive side in me and I fell in love with powerlifting.

“When my trainer first mentioned it, I thought he must be crazy when he told me how much these little girls lift.

“My cancer diagnosis gave me this new way of living and thinking.

“I’ve traveled the world competing and breaking records.

“I’ve always joked that if I couldn’t lift 60kg I’d give it up – but I’m not there yet.

“I can’t imagine a world where I don’t do powerlifting.”

Reeves refused to accept that she would only live two years after her cancer diagnosis in 1982 and sought ways to extend her life.

“Because of my workload, I was never in one place for very long,” she said.

“I would fly anywhere for my powerlifting events and to Germany for the clinics.

“I’ve had so much thrill at every event and when I’ve done it well.”

Pat Reeves weightlifting
Pat Reeves, 76, was encouraged by her bodybuilding trainer to try powerlifting and fell in love with it, quickly breaking records and securing titles in competitions in which she competed.
Simon Galloway/Zenger

Reeves has broken around 200 records and can lift nearly 300 pounds.

Having already overcome her initial cancer diagnosis, she was shocked when her knee pain was revealed to be bone cancer at the age of just 48, but she accepted it and has now “disabled” all of her tumors.

She joined the BDFPA in 2005 and continued with her powerlifting, but her accident in 2018 took a lot to mentally and physically overcome.

“It was awful,” she said. “I’ve been involved in accidents before, but nothing that serious.”

Reeves was told she had just three months to live after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, but she has once again defied the odds.

“It still touches me,” she said.

“But I found a way to train despite my setbacks and still do powerlifting.”

She needs supplemental oxygen most days, but is still able to deadlift three times a week and bench press four times a week.

In March 2022, she smashed the world record by lifting just over 133 pounds and will break it again in September 2022.

“I can only do one rep now,” said Reeves, who also wrote a book by the title A living miracle.

“I’ve had to adapt my training to my abilities since the accident – but I’ve found what works for me, but I’m still breaking my records and doing what I love.

“I am the oldest woman to go to my club.

“I may not be able to climb stairs or slopes, but I can still do powerlifting.

“Every day is a bonus.”

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News. Tough Grandma cheats on death three times and becomes a powerlifter

Rick Schindler

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