A boy’s life was saved after he got a BLACK EYE during his first ever boxing match – which lead doctors to find a tumour.
James Martin, 12, thought nothing of landing a shiner in the ring – until the swelling still hadn’t gone down days later.
He went to see his GP for a check-up, and tests revealed a cancerous tumour that otherwise may not have been detected.
Mum Sarah, 35, said: “The lump just seemed to be getting bigger between his eyeball and his eyebrow.
“The bruise was gone but the swelling hadn’t so we thought we’d better just get him checked over.
“After hearing of his boxing background, doctors thought it might have been a cyst, but a CT scan revealed it was a tumour.”
The discovery led James to be diagnosed with rare cancer rhabdomyosarcoma, forcing him to enter the biggest fight of his life as doctors prepared him for treatment.
He was flown to Florida, US for eight weeks of proton therapy and chemotherapy, and had to spend last Christmas in a hospital ward.
Sarah, who runs a window fitting company, said: “They told us the tumour would have made itself known eventually but they don’t know whether it was the boxing that brought it out.
“It would definitely have come to the surface at some point but they couldn’t really say when.
“It was a big shock when James was diagnosed, but we didn’t have time to think about it – it was all just go.
“We wanted to keep things as normal as we could so James still went boxing but he couldn’t compete.
“It’s a big thing for a child to go through but he just dealt with it. Apart from being bald, he generally thought that nothing was wrong with him.
“He was most worried about not being able to return to it after treatment but getting back in the ring was what he worked for.”
James has now been given the all-clear by doctors, and returned to the ring for his first time since his treatment last Friday.
Dad Paul, 37, said: “It was quite emotional when he got back in the ring that Friday night.
“It was like we had come full circle and were back to where we started.
“It was really nice to see.”
Having defied the odds, James now trains five times a week at the the Stevie Smith Boxing Academy in Hull, East Yorks.
He said: “I didn’t want to give up boxing because it’s a fun thing to do.”
“It felt really good to be boxing again. I didn’t win but I still enjoyed it.”
James is now fundraising for Candlelighters – a charity that provides play areas and equipment such as TVs and game consoles for children while they are bed bound in hospital.
To support his cause, visit: www.justgiving.com/candlelighters