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Cancer-battling PE teacher a class act as he joins colleagues in marathon fundraiser

By Mark Bain

Last week he finished his third - and hopefully final - chemotherapy session, and next week he's taking part in the Belfast Marathon.

It's been a whirlwind four months for Ballyclare High School PE teacher James Corry after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in January.

He is now using his experience to raise funds for Macmillan and the OddBalls Foundation and to help educate students at the school.

James (27) will be running the final leg of the relay and his cause has brought the whole school together, with 30 staff members taking part.

Tuesday, January 23 will forever be a day etched in James' mind, as it was then that he found out he had the disease.

"I'd found a lump around Christmas time," he said.

"I didn't think much more at that stage other than: 'Sure, it'll go away, nothing to worry about'. But I started to get pain in my lower back and I was sore when I lay down."

When the pain persisted James went to his doctor and events escalated quickly from there.

"She sent me straight to hospital and after an examination I was sent for an urgent ultrasound the same day. I asked them: 'Is it cancer?'. The reply was: 'We can normally tell when it's not'. So I pretty much knew what was happening.

"I was sent to see a specialist the next day, Tuesday, January 23, where everything was confirmed. On the Friday I had the operation to remove a testicle.

"That all happened in the space of a week."

A fortnight of recovery from the operation and a scan followed, but that wasn't the end of his ordeal.

"They'd hoped the scan would show the cancer had been confined to the testicle, however it had spread to my lungs.

"But there was a bright side. They told me they were going to cure the cancer, not treat it. At that stage they were 90% sure everything would be OK. Testicular cancer reacts well to chemotherapy and they told me a good blast would clear the rest as well."

And things are now looking up for James (left). He's due to move in to a new house, he's hoping to be back to work at Ballyclare High in June, and then back to normality. But before that he has a bit of running to do.

"When I heard what the staff were planning to do I had to be a part of it. I insisted on it, as long as I got to do a final leg and cross the finishing line," he said.

The idea of doing something for James came from colleague Ross McComiskey. "Initially I thought if I could get a few of the staff together as a relay team, we could do something. In the end we had 30 staff members standing up to take part," he said.

"Then it was a bit of a surprise when James stepped up and said he's joining us. He wouldn't take no for an answer, but we're delighted to have him on board."

All the runners will be raising funds for Macmillan at justgiving.com/fundraising/bhsmarathon18, with various other events raising money for the OddBalls Foundation.

Belfast Telegraph

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