I was on the brink of death, now I'm doing a triathlon! CHALLENGE: Against the odds, Steve battles cancer to become fighting fit.
LOOKING at strong, healthy athlete Steve Faulkner now, it is hard to imagine that seven years ago he was on the brink of death.
For when he was just a 16-year-old schoolboy celebrating the end of his GCSEs, Steve was diagnosed with a vigorous form of cancer.
But Steve, now 23, who went on to become a personal trainer, believes his competitive sporting nature helped his battle against the devastating disease.
He is so fighting fit that he is now joining dozens of some of the fittest people in Birmingham for the city's first major triathlon at the NEC in a bid to earn a place in next year's World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Strathclyde.
"My independence and competitive nature from my sporting background certainly helped me survive," said Steve, who lives in Great Hampton Street, Hockley.
"I was having severe abdominal pains and couldn't keep my food down.
"I had no idea what it was but as soon as they doctor said 'cancer', I was devastated and thought 'why me?'"
It was July 2001 when he was diagnosed with one of the worse strains of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma called Burkitt Lymphoma - a cancer of the lymph nodes.
But despite such a diagnosis, Steve continued doing his A-levels while undergoing chemotherapy and surgery to remove part of his small intestine.
Even now after six years in remission, he regularly competes in triathlons, plays rugby and is doing a PHd at Birmingham University.
"I look back on my experience now and would not change anything about what happened to me," said Steve.
"I am indebted to the scientists at Cancer Research UK who developed the drugs which saved my life."
Cancer Research UK is the official charity of the triathlon, organised by Trafeco Sport, on August 26 at Birmingham NEC.
To enter the triathlon call 0870 4424530 or contact Cancer Research UK on 020 7009 8820.
OUR SAY: PAGE 12
INSPIRATION... Steve Faulkner who has come back from the edge of death to compete in the Brum triathlon. Inset, before a race. Picture: Dale Martin Photosales No.: DM040807STEVE-03