Alexandra Banfield: A chemotherapy nurse by day, a cheerleader by night
Cheerleader Alexandra Banfield leads a duel life.
She will be representing England for the fourth time at the World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida.
But her day job couldn't be further removed from the bright lights of the Walt Disney Resort, which hosts the event.
"I am a nurse by day. I work at a chemotherapy unit in the local hospital and treat patients that come in for many different treatments," she told the Olympic Channel Podcast.
"It’s really challenging to see the different stages the patients goes through whether it be treatment progression, condition progression, home to carry on or home to just have the better quality of life for the time they have left."
Podcast: Cheerleading, England, and the chemotherapy nurse
Podcast: Cheerleading, England, and the chemotherapy nurseAs Alexandra Banfield prepares to represent England at the World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida, the Solihull-based athlete explains how she balances an emotional job with the rigours of training for a major competition as a chemotherapy nurse. Plus, we sent influencer Gina Scarangella to London to see how the sport has grown in the country.
Many of Alexandra's cheerleading rivals from America will be training every day, with first-class college facilities on their doorstep.
In Solihull meanwhile, Alexandra travels an hour from work to cheerleading practice once in a week, after completing her 10-hour shift in the hospital.
"If i’m at work, I would get up at half 5 and I will get home about eleven o’clock (at night)."
Going above and beyond
Alexandra's work isn't just confined to the hospital.
On one particular occasion, she went above and beyond her job description in order to make a very sick patient's dream come true before they passed.
"I looked after a patient who was unfortunately untreatable for their condition and his goal before he passed away was to get married.
"I got to experience that and help organise that day for him by getting his wife ready, getting them flowers, going out and then coming back organising the vicar to come and marry them.
"We make a difference to the patients. So a lot of them really respect what we do and are so grateful for what we do for them because it’s given them a quality of life, a new lease of life sometimes.
With such a physical and emotional overload at work, it's a wonder that Alexandra finds the energy to go to cheerleading training.
But she explains that the sport actually helps to balance her mental state.
"(Cheerleading) keeps me distracted from work."
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Where to watch the action
The World Cheerleading Championships take place in Orlando, Florida from April 24-26.
The last day of action will be shown live on the Olympic Channel here.