A MIRACLE marathon runner who was within hours of dying has defied the odds to recover and take part in the Great Scottish Run with his family.
Tommy Doyle collapsed at the roadside just days before a family holiday in June 2011.
He was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with lymphoma – with shocked medics discovering he had a tumour the “size of an orange” between his heart and his windpipe.
It was a bombshell for Tommy, who was a keep-fit fanatic and keen runner – competing in both the Dublin and London marathons.
The 48-year-old recalled feeling a lump in his neck and seeking medical advice, but cancer was never mentioned until he was taken to hospital that fateful day in June 2011.
He said: “I was driving a truck and my head started to spin. I stopped, got out and my left leg just buckled from under me and I collapsed.
“I went for a CT scan and within 45 minutes I was diagnosed with cancer. I was floored. I think I was in shock for weeks. I didn’t know how ill I was. I knew I had cancer, but I felt fine apart from the lump.
“The oncologist told me I had been within 24 hours of dying. The tumour was lying against an artery and in the opposite direction it was crushing against my windpipe. It was the size of an orange.
“If I hadn’t had the treatment immediately I probably would have been dead in 24 hours. That’s the scary part.
“Collapsing probably dislodged the tumour from wherever it was lying and saved my life.”
After months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Tommy got the amazing news that he had the all-clear in January 2012. However, despite keeping in relatively good shape, he didn’t feel up to running.
Luckily the amazing support from wife Sharon and son Marc (16) included encouraging him to pull his trainers on again. The terrific trio recently ran the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run 10k and hope it will help raise awareness about Maggies, Calman Cancer Support Centre and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Tommy said: “We all crossed the line together at the beginning and at the end. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I want to do another marathon before I’m 50.”
The family got a special bonus at the end – the chance to meet and speak to Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
As for the future, Tommy has set up his own driving school – Learn2pass – www.l2p.uk.com. He has also enrolled in a literature course with an aim to create children’s books.
He has paid tribute to Maggies and the Calman Centre for all their support.
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