Throwback Thursday- Shooting Star Edition
Have you ever met someone who manages to change your outlook on life in the space of a year, just to have them tragically taken away from you? I have. I can't sit here and say he was a long time friend, but Kris Travis did change my life for the better in the short time I knew him. Here's the first of my Throwback Thursday posts in honour of one of the greatest people I ever got to meet.
Social media gets a lot of stick, but that's how my friendship with Kris got started. My best friend, Char, had told me that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer shortly after I'd watched him on TNA British Bootcamp 2. At this point, I was recovering from being hit by a car, so I searched for his Twitter and followed. I remember seeing a post where Kris said he was feeling down about losing his hair. This was the first time I spoke to him directly:
He followed me and we were messaging about our respective recoveries. I had a lot going on with my shattered leg, and he had his stomach cancer. Yet somehow, we had found a way to use each other as a support...despite never meeting. We'd talk regularly and check if we were ok. By February 2015, I was back walking after 8-9 months of hydrotherapy and physiotherapy. It felt like the right time to go to British wrestling shows, with the aim of meeting the person who had talked me through my recovery...
Now I refuse to show the first photo of Trav and I, and for good reason. I was hungover from a show the night before. Whoops! What I will show you is a small print screen of what I did for him as a thank you for helping me. Before this site, I used to run fansites for WWE Superstars, and I'd never done something for a British wrestler. Kris and his road to recovery seemed like a perfect fit to get started. We opened it in March 2015, and then met one month later at a Southside show. I want to say I remember a lot from the encounter, but the main thing I remember was other people sitting shocked that Kris sat with a "newbie" for a good 20 minutes talking. It turns out that Kris was picky with who he befriended! I'll take it. Here's a preview of the site I did for Kris.
Now comes the fun bit- the blogging. I'll be blunt- Kris SUCKED at getting blogs done regularly, but when he did write a blog, it was GREAT. He had this ability to make people cry with what he wrote. I remember one blog about his dog that had passed away, and then we spent the next couple of days coming up with a name for his new pup. He settled on Daisy. I will also briefly say that Trav writing a blog while high on brownies was insane...just...yeah.
Trav was VERY good at organising his shows, but was also very secretive. I'd secured a job in a primary school in June 2015, and (without me knowing), he'd secured his comeback match against Sha Samuels at Preston City Wrestling. He also secretly arranged a trip to go to the first Progress Super Strong Style 16! The funny thing about the SSS16 was that I actually asked Trav what he was doing and he said "nothing much." You can actually see me saying on demand "You asshole!" as his music hit. But back to the comeback...it turns out the holiday I had with Char clashed with his return!! I was so angry, but it's funny looking back on it. Now the good thing about Tenerife was that we had all you can drink alcohol, and as his match drew closer and closer, Char and I downed more and more alcohol...here's the actual photo of the alcohol we consumed because we were that nervous for Trav!
My friend, Kat, had kept us updated all night about Trav, and then I finally got through to him. Drunk as a skunk, I asked him to call me. Around 2 minutes later, my phone rang. Despite having all the attention on him for what was essentially a miraculous comeback, Trav snuck into the toilets at 1.30am to talk to Char and I, who were all the way in Tenerife. That's the kind of person Kris was- if he had friends he cared about, he'd go out of his way for them. He even would make sure "his girls" were kept safe. I got to see him two more times after this- one at HOPE Wrestling, and the other at his final ever match at Progress. The pic at the top of the page is the final picture I ever got with Kris, because a week later, he found out his cancer had returned and it was terminal.
When I think about the day Kris passed, it makes me feel numb. I remember all the events of that very long day- Char had constantly called me for an hour while I was in Dallas for Wrestlemania at 5.30am. I finally picked up at 6.30, and then she broke the news to me. It felt like a tail spin, and didn't feel real. I sat up for two hours looking out of my hotel room window, and I then put on this match:
It spurred me to write this Instagram post in tribute to Kris. I spent the rest of the day trying to get through Axxess sessions and seeing my friends, but it was incredibly tough. I have to thank Jimmy (yes, Havoc) for helping me out a lot on the day Kris died. Jimmy's way of trying to cheer me up was to wind me up and say how he can't stand me (trust me, it's a term of endearment!), and he spent the rest of the holiday checking up on me however he could. The toughest thing I had to do was face Paige. I went to her Axxess signing, and she stood up to give me a huge hug. We talked, and we took the most Trav like selfie possible, which makes me laugh to this day. I also met Saraya Knight, and when I explained that today was tough because of Trav, she gave me a massive hug, and told everyone to leave her for a bit while we talked. I don't remember much of what she said, but she sounded just like my mum and this made me cry even more than what I was crying (I'm welling up as I write this too). But that's the thing about Kris- he had touched my life so much in the year I knew him, that his death hit me HARD.
So why am I writing this post as my first Throwback Thursday post? Well, I think the content itself is self explanatory. However, one thing Trav taught me was to give back. Now I had completed one Race for Life event while Kris was alive and I did it in his name. I skipped last year's because it was honestly too tough to face. But now, I'm doing my second Race For Life once again in Kris' name. You can donate here if you can, but you're not obliged. I just wanted to put my perspective on Kris out there for you to enjoy. If you knew him, you'd know just how much of a shining light he was and continues to be.