In 2015 Chris Proby was out running at his local park when a stray football hit him in the leg. The errant shot was struck so hard that it almost knocked him off his feet.
At the time the Inch man merely cursed the wayward striker and continued on his way. However, when the pain in the affected area didn't subside, and, in fact, became worse, Chris knew something was amiss. After visiting his GP, Chris was sent for an MRI and the results revealed a massive tumour, one which may have gone untreated were it not for that misfiring footballer in a Dublin park.
'I was incredibly lucky. I was cursing that guy in my head, saying "he's after injuring me now", but he actually saved my life. It was the worst tumour I had in my body and he hit it by fluke,' Chris said.
Diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Chris initially got the all-clear in 2016 only to relapse later that year. With the cancer having spread throughout his body, above his neck and into his sinuses, his prognosis was grave, but further radiation and chemotherapy, and then a bone marrow transplant in 2017 led to a full recovery and a brighter future.
Now two years free of cancer, he is organising a charity run in aid of the Irish Cancer Society (ICS). Taking place on July 28, the 'Never Give Up' 5k/10k run is named after Chris' blog which recounts his struggles with the illness and the obstacles he has overcome during the past four years.
Now back running and planning a marathon for 2020, Chris says he decided to mark his two-year anniversary with an event which would get his whole community involved and give a little bit back to an organisation he holds dear to his heart.
And he says it was the prospect of being back on the road, pounding out the miles, which kept him going during his darkest hours.
'Running is one of the main things that kept me going through my treatment, I just wanted to get better so I could go back running. It's something I really enjoy and love doing,' he said.