From cancer diagnosis to elite athlete

Matt Cable survived cancer, organ failure and 18 days in a coma. Throughout his ordeal, he focused on fitness for recovery, an inspiring journey he shares as the special guest on this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast.

A few years after joining the Air Force in 2011, Cable was diagnosed with AML leukemia, which is bone marrow cancer. The then-23-year-old immediately began researching it on the Internet.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he recalls. “I didn’t even know what leukemia was. I learned quickly that the survival isn’t too high. I told myself that I am never going to give up fighting. And that’s what I did.”

It was quite a journey for Cable, a member of The American Legion.

“Shortly after being admitted (to the hospital), I endured complete organ failure which should have taken my life,” he says. “I was in a coma and on life support for 18 days, I lost 60 pounds but then I woke up. I wasn’t supposed to but I did.”

Cable picked up his passion for fitness pretty much as soon as he left the hospital. He dedicated himself to training, rebuilding his strength and speed. In 2017, he represented the Air Force at the Warrior Games and won three gold medals and a silver. That led to an appearance on NBC’s Titan Games, where he competed in season one.

“I was able to share my story to millions and give people hope and inspiration who needed it,” he says. “It was such an incredible experience.”

Then the cancer returned while he was deployed overseas.

Cable was medically evacuated and returned to Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland. Due to his previous chemo experience, he had to undergo a more intense form. That made him sick, which led to fungal sinusitis and back to the ICU on life support. He finally got a bone marrow transplant in September 2019. 

“Through it all, I kept fighting; there were dark days of course,” he says. “I had to remember what my goals were and to stay positive and to take each day one day at a time.”

Recovered once again, he competed on Team USA at the 2022 Invictus Games and brought home seven medals. He also won seven medals, including four golds, at the DoD Warrior Games.

Check out this inspiring story as well as other topics co-hosts Jeff Daly and Ashley Gutermuth address such as:

• A cost-saving way for posts to ship care packages overseas.

• An upcoming declassified report on UFOs.

• Increasing your savings at the commissary.

Check out this week’s episode, which is among nearly 190 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.