Personal trainer ‘burst into tears’ after man visits his gym to return beret

Owen Copland, 21, left his personal trainer in tears after walking into Anytime Fitness, in Liverpool, prompting owner Alex Ivanoff to raise money for the former drama student

Owen Copland, 21, returning Alex Ivanoff’s beret

A 21-year-old previously told he had potentially just days to live left a gym owner ‘in tears’ after returning his prized beret.

Owen Copland was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 glioblastoma in November and married his adoring girlfriend in an emotional bedside service earlier this year.

He has been working with personal trainer Alex Ivanoff, owner of Anytime Fitness, after becoming bedbound, Liverpool Echo reports.

Now a talented team of trainers have helped Owen, who studied drama at university, become well enough to enjoy days out – with his family overwhelmed by his progress.

Owen with Alex’s green beret and a message for the gym owner


Alex Ivanoff)

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On Monday, Alex, a former marine, was left in tears as Owen arrived at the gym with his green beret, in a bid to show how far he has come.

The 40-year-old had previously entrusted Owen with the beret, Alex’s most prized possession, and asked him to hand-deliver it to him when he was feeling up to it.

Owen’s sister Jane Copland said: “My mum has been saying constantly, that Alex stepping in when he did and giving us that boost is the reason Owen has had the chance to get out and have a normal life.

“With this diagnosis, you don’t always get that chance so we’re just so emotional.

“To be able to go in the other day and hand back his green beret and seeing Owen be like ‘I can’t walk yet but I can hand it to you’. It was a lot, and to see how much Alex cares about Owen as well, it’s so nice.”

The couple took part in a bedside service


Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

Owen suffered headaches for around a month before being diagnosed


Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

Alex Ivanoff opened his gym in 2018 after being medically discharged from the marines with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

He has now pledged to keep training Owen – and is now raising money so the 21-year-old can enjoy a few days away from home.

He said: “I burst into tears when he came in and gave me my beret. That beret is my prized possession. When I gave it to him I said ‘listen, this is the most important thing I’ve got and I want it back.’

“He looked me dead in the eyes and said ‘yeah, you can have it’ but I also told him the only time I’ll take it off him is if he comes into the gym and gives it to me, and he did! I’m so proud of him.”

The personal trainer said he was over the moon at Owen’s transformation since meeting him.

Owen getting married to girlfriend Sarah Jones


Brain Tumour Research / SWNS)

“He couldn’t move his arms. Now you see him sitting up outside, feeding himself, writing, I play chess with him, we’re keeping his brain active. Now, instead of looking at the ceiling waiting to go, he’s now focusing on something else,” revealed Alex.

“It’s given him life force. It’s beautiful to see what the power of positivity can do, and the power of support as well as having a purpose again.”

In April, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp sent Owen an emotional letter to let him know he had the full support of the ‘ Liverpool family’.

Now Alex has pledged to complete 24-hour walk on a treadmill in a bid to help Owen enjoy a weekend away or a few days out.

He said: “All I want to do is raise as much money as I can so they can take Owen to do something nice.

“Maybe a weekend in a supported environment and then his mum and sister can have a break as well because their lives are on hold as well.

“They’re dedicating their lives to Owen so I want to give something back to them as well.

“If he can’t move, I’ll move for them. I’m going to raise some money for them and they can do whatever they want with it.

For more information, or to donate, click here .

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