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RAF engineer bounces back from tumour to complete Norwich half marathon

Chris Carolan, engineer at RAF Marham completes the Norwich Half Marathon after being told by doctors he wouldn't walk again

Chris Carolan, engineer at RAF Marham completes the Norwich Half Marathon after being told by doctors he wouldn't walk again

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An RAF engineer who was told he may never walk again sprinted across the finish line of the Norwich half marathon on Sunday.

Chris Carolan overcame a tumour which was crushing his spinal cord to complete the 13 miles in two hours and six minutes.

His mum Karen said: “He is an inspiration to us all.

“His faith that he would get well again and be able to provide for his family never faltered.”

In November 2009 doctors discovered the tumour was eating away at Chris’s nervous system and without surgery he was months away from being paralysed forever.

The 35-year-old from Drayton said: “I couldn’t feel my legs at all. It was a horrible feeling.”

“It got to the point where I was really stressed out at work and under the weather.”

A scan at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital revealed the full extent of the damage.

Chris, who services Tornadoes at RAF Marham, was sent to Addenbrooke’s where surgeons broke his back to remove the tumour. He said: “That was a horrendous Christmas. There was a good chance there would be a lasting effect.”

But on December 30 the former Hellesdon High School pupil managed to walk out of hospital and on New Year’s Eve he was told the tumour was benign and he should recover.

“I didn’t get feeling back for a while,” he said. “I had numb patches. I slowly lost my fitness and now have got it all back.”

By the spring, thanks to the neuro-surgery team and physiotherapists, he was back at work and that summer he married his girlfriend Rachel.

They had another baby, Grace, who is now nine months old, to go with their other children, Holly, 7, Joseph, 5 and Samuel, 2.

Chris now hopes to complete a full marathon for Addenbrooke’s.

Karen added: “I hope Chris’s story will give hope to others who may be going through a challenging time over Christmas.”

Chris’s run has raised £400 for Macmillan who supported his grandad Derek Creasy before he died in 2003.

If you would like to sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/Chris-Carolan

Do you know someone who has fought back from adversity? Email tom.bristow@archant.co.uk.


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