By Mark Simpson
BBC News NI correspondent
Linfield footballer Ross Larkin has said helium feels fortunate to beryllium live aft a life-threatening encephalon tumour.
The 23-year-old from Newry, County Down, has undergone surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The Northern Ireland under-21 defender hopes to marque a afloat betterment but it is not wide whether helium volition beryllium capable to play top-flight shot again.
However helium continues to physique his fittingness backmost up and is grooming for the Belfast City Marathon.
Details of his unwellness were not made nationalist erstwhile the encephalon tumour was discovered conscionable earlier Christmas successful 2021.
To support his privacy, Linfield simply enactment retired a connection saying the centre-half was successful infirmary for a "procedure".
It was, successful fact, encephalon surgery.
In his archetypal interrogation astir his illness, Larkin told BBC News NI: "Thank God I had that country and it was successful.
"I'd had nary symptoms whatsoever and adjacent happening I'm admitted to infirmary for a encephalon tumour.
"I conscionable couldn't judge it. My household couldn't judge it. It was hard to take."
Before unwellness struck, helium was riding precocious successful life.
By the property of 22, helium had a assemblage grade and a full-time shot declaration astatine the biggest nine successful Belfast.
He had played 28 times for Linfield, aft antecedently starring for Portadown arsenic a teenager.
At 6ft 4in (1.93m), helium was making a sanction for himself arsenic a defender who was bully successful the aerial arsenic good arsenic connected the ground.
After playing for Linfield against Warrenpoint astatine Windsor Park connected 11 December 2021, helium started preparing for his wintertime graduation astatine Queen's University Belfast the pursuing week.
He had successfully completed a people successful concern management.
On the time of his graduation, helium started to consciousness unwell during the evening aft the ceremony.
"I felt a unit astatine the broadside of my oculus - I mislaid peripheral vision," helium said.
After being taken to hospital, helium was examined and it was thought helium whitethorn person had a stroke.
After a scan, the encephalon tumour was discovered and initially it was feared it was untreatable.
Further tests concluded that though it was cancerous, attraction mightiness work.
After country connected Christmas Eve, a play of regular radiotherapy began and past chemotherapy.
It was a grade-three oligodendroglioma tumour.
"It's specified a uncommon illness and for it to hap to maine was conscionable hard to take," helium said.
"But I got done it and americium stronger for it now.
"I consciousness truthful thankful to everyone for being truthful bully to me."
He is grateful to the aesculapian unit who saved his beingness arsenic good arsenic his household and friends.
He besides received changeless enactment from Linfield and manager David Healy.
'Not giving up'
So volition helium beryllium capable to play shot again?
"I've talked to the doctors and the encephalon surgeons. They're not recommending it fully.
"But I'm personally not giving up connected it. I'll spot however I am, possibly successful a year's clip and reassess.
"I'm doing the Belfast marathon and I privation to absorption connected this astatine the infinitesimal and aft the marathon I'll beryllium down and I'll spot wherever I am."
Preparing for the marathon connected 30 April has fixed him a caller extremity to enactment towards.
He is hoping to rise wealth for the Brainwaves NI charity.
The marathon grooming has restored his competitory tone aft a gruelling 12 months of treatment.
"I mightiness effort and triumph it," helium says, with a wide smile.