What does it take to come back from the brink? Terry ‘The Miracle Man’ Mitropoulos believes it takes more than any individual – it takes the power of two.
Over the last decade, Terry has battled a brain tumour, ‘super bug’, paraplegia, blindness and deafness. His miraculous story of courage and survival has made him a local hero in the Banyule region of Victoria, becoming Victorian Father of the Year in 2016, nominated by one of his sons through his local Y in Eltham.
Troy, Terry’s trainer at the Y, has been a vital part of his journey since 2017, seeing him through some of the most significant years of transformation for the miracle man. The past two and a half years have seen the pair become inseparable.
“When I had to choose a new trainer a few years ago I had my eye on Troy and saw he was full of life, so I knew he was the one that I wanted,” recalls Terry. "I knew there was a lot that I could offer him, and that we could fulfill our achievements together.”
It’s this philosophy that drives Terry. Unconcerned with what he can do for others or what they can do for him in isolation, he focuses instead establishing a symbiotic relationship where both parties can learn from one another, evolving in tandem.
Terry attributes much of his recovery to the power he has been given by those around him, and Troy has seen first-hand what a bond like his and Terry’s can do.
“The bond that we shared straight away was nothing like any other client. He welcomed me into his home and life with open arms and it allowed us to delve deeper into what we wanted to achieve,” says Troy. “I think it gave us both confidence. If he didn’t have faith in me or didn’t trust me, he wouldn’t be able to do something like his Adelaide to Melbourne walk for charity, after being told by doctors that he’d never walk again. And, you know, I wouldn’t have been inspired to push myself as hard as I have done in my own life, with sport and things.”
In fact, Troy attributes a large part of his own achievements both as a trainer and an athlete to Terry’s determination and perseverance, culminating last year in him playing for the Australian dodgeball team.
Terry and Troy have no doubts that they will be in each other’s lives for many years to come. “Troy is an older brother for my boys and that relationship all came from the Y,” says Terry. “I’m so grateful for that.”
While Terry wants to delve deeper into his philanthropic passions, he can’t see himself leaving The Y behind. “The Y means so much to me. It has become a part of me. I am the Y.”