While the whole world sits eagerly in anticipation for the world’s best to clash at the upcoming Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands, one recent story reminds us of how fortunate we are to have sport in our life. Insert Chris Pelow, a former international hockey player, competing for Ireland at the under-16 and 18 level before joining the Irish A side and the Irish senior training squad.
The then 23-year-old competed in the Irish Hockey League and later in Australia for Sydney’s University first team. A knock to his left foot in training caused some on-going pains that landed him in a podiatrist’s office. Following an MRI, and follow-up meetings with an orthopaedic surgeon, Chris got the news that would change his life forever.
In the Irish Times, Chris stated: “(The surgeon) said that if it did turn out to be a tumour and it was serious, then worst-case scenario would be amputation of my left leg! I couldn’t believe how serious this was getting. Like, my foot wasn’t even that sore, I was walking around fine.”
Wednesday, 21st March, 2012 was the day that a rare cancer, known as synovial sarcoma, took Chris’ left leg.
Chris added: “Just because I had this major operation, I was determined I didn’t want it to alter my life. I was enjoying my job in recruitment and everything about Sydney so this wasn’t going to stop me. After the six weeks, I flew back to Sydney with my dad and I began rehab.”
The inspiration that followed is enough to make any one realize how lucky they are. Within a few months Chris was back on the treadmill running, with a prosthetic, and if you watch the video, also playing hockey.
As the world prepares to gather together next week to celebrate one of the greatest events, the Hockey World Cup, we should also truly take the time to celebrate hockey and remember just how much power this sport does have.
In 2012, at half-time of a men’s Irish Senior Cup final, Chris’s father, Ronan Pelow, addressed the crowd to express his thanks: “Today, I can truly say that Hockey Connections saved Chris’s life. From day one his medical care has been in the hands of friends, fellow members of his hockey club, Sydney Uni. His surgeon Sanjeev Gupta, is a past 1st grade player who now plays masters.
“Sydney University HC, together with you the Irish hockey community, prove my long held belief that nothing surpasses hockey as a sport and as a support structure.”
With files from the Irish Times [FULL ARTICLE & VIDEO]
Read Ronan Pelow’s full speech HERE.
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