Cancer survivor nets top award

A CORK student struck down with testicular cancer 12 months ago defied all the odds to collect a prestigious college sports award yesterday.

Charlie Foley, 24, from Vicarstown, Tower, was back on the soccer pitch just weeks after he completed chemotherapy treatment following an operation to remove his testicle.

The shock diagnosis was made last May when Charlie sought medical advice for an aggressive swelling of the testicle.

In recognition of his sporting commitment throughout his battle against cancer, Charlie was honoured yesterday to receive the sports award for soccer at Cork Institute of Technology.

Medics predicted it could take years for Charlie to return to competitive play but the construction studies’ student came back six weeks after completing chemotherapy.

“They said it could take 18 months before I was even able to run but I suppose I don’t like being told what to do,” he said.

“I finished chemo in August and was back playing in October. My recovery didn’t hold me back though I really felt it — I would be tired for a whole week after a game,” he said.

College authorities were supportive, allowing him to train at his own pace.

“They were very good to me, helping me to get out of the house and into the fresh air,” he said.

Initially shocked by the diagnosis, Charlie maintained a positive attitude throughout. “It was a big shock, I was only 23, but the outlook was always positive. It’s important to continue living your life, go out with your friends and do as much as you can,” Charlie said.

Having received the all clear at Christmas, he is in remission.

Due to sit his final exams in two weeks, the young soccer star will travel to Finland in July to represent CIT at the European Football Championships.

In addition, he has begun fundraising for the cancer care unit at the Mercy University Hospital.

The second oldest of five sons, Charlie’s diagnosis has helped raise awareness of the symptoms of testicular cancer among his peers.

“People were shocked, they kept asking, how it is possible that you have cancer, you are only 23? But there is no set age, it affects all ages.

“Like every other illness you don’t really look into it until it affects you.

“But there is awareness out there, thanks to people like Joe Deane, Des Bishop and Lance Armstrong,” he added.

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