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Watch as dad celebrates son’s first goal since finishing cancer treatment

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This is the tear-jerking moment a dad ran onto a football pitch to celebrate his young son scoring a goal in his first match since finishing cancer treatment.Ryan Martin, 41, can be seen running towards son Hunter, six, seconds after the youngster scored a goal after returning to his team following a six-month break.The emotional dad hugged his little boy as his teammates cheered.Hunter Martin was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma last year after suffering from stomach pains for the last three years.The cancer develops in the lymphatic system which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body.Hunter had to take a six-month break from playing his favourite sport while he underwent intensive chemotherapy to battle the cancer that was “everywhere”.

Hunter practised football while admitted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Picture: SWNS

In February, Hunter was told the chemotherapy had been a success and hadn’t spread any further.In a triumphant return to the pitch, Hunter re-joined his under-sevens teammates earlier this month for ten minutes – and scored a goal.Ryan, who coaches the Wisbech St Mary’s team, said he was “blubbering like a little kid” after his son scored the goal.He said: “He wasn’t strong enough after the chemo to play a full game so I substituted him on just for ten minutes.

Ryan Martin, 41, on the right and Hunter Martin, six. Picture: SWNS

“We lost 6-2 in the end but when he scored that goal, it felt like a win that day.“It has made it feel like everything is coming to an end and we can go back to normal life.”In a video captured by another parent, Hunter can be seen celebrating with a teammate before his dad runs on the pitch.

Hunter Martin with his under-sevens football team and dad Ryan on the right. Picture: SWNS

Ryan picks Hunter up and embraces him before he runs back to the sidelines as Hunter continues on his game.Before his cancer diagnosis, Hunter loved to play outside and was a keen footballer player, joining a team when he was four.Ryan and mum Tanya, 42, even remodelled their garden to AstroTurf for Hunter, a Tottenham Hotspurs fan, to train in Lynn.

The under-sevens Wisbech St Mary’s team showing support for Hunter. Picture: SWNS

He is a striker while his twin brother Casey plays in goal for Wisbech St Mary’s under-sevens team.At the end of August in 2023, Hunter’s parents took him to the doctors as he was suffering from stomach pains.He had been getting the cramps for the last three years but Ryan said they were repeatedly told by doctors it was constipation.

Hunter Martin with his baby brother Theo, 1 and a half. Picture: SWNS

As the family pushed for answers, Hunter was referred to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn where he underwent an MRI and CAT scan.A week later, Hunter was sent to the children’s cancer ward at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.Ryan, a director of a sign installation company, said: “It was devastating to hear the diagnosis but then also everything that came after it.”Hunter had to have intense chemotherapy as the cancer was everywhere – but it was most concentrated on his bowels and they were rotted completely.

Hunter practising his football skills at Addenbrooke’s Hospital with his brother Casey. Picture: SWNS

“He had to stay in hospital for 20 weeks straight – his mum would be there all week and then I would swap over at the weekend.”It was horrible when he was bedridden and screaming from the pain – all day and all night.”Hunter has four siblings – oldest brother Kieran, 22, Cody, 16, his twin brother Casey, also 6, and Theo, 1.

Hunter and his family including mum Tanya, 42. Picture: SWNS

Both Ryan and Tanya had to give up working to care for both Hunter and the rest of their children.Hunter had a stoma – an opening in the abdomen to allow waste to come out of the body – put in due to the damage to his bowels.Two days before Christmas, he was granted home leave for a few days which turned into a few weeks – then he went back in for one last lot of inpatient chemo in January.Since then, he has been home and in February, the family were given the news his cancer had not spread and he would just need maintenance chemotherapy and check-ups.Ryan said: “We were all struggling when Hunter was poorly in hospital but his twin brother felt it the most – he couldn’t sleep in his own bed while Hunter was gone.”Now Hunter is back home, he and Casey are sharing a bed.

Hunter Martin, six, in hospital with his shirts of Kane and Grealish. Picture: SWNS

“His twin brother felt it the most – he didn’t sleep in his own bed when Hunter was away and now he sleeps in with him that he’s home.”Wisbech St Mary football club and friends of the family set up a GoFundMe to support the Martins while Hunter was in hospital.It has so far raised £30,000.Ryan said that without the financial support, he doesn’t know how they would have coped.”Financially, we would have been stuffed without the GoFundMe – we couldn’t work while we were looking after the kids and it’s been hard to rejoin back into real life.”It’s very overwhelming to know how many people donated and how much they raised for us.”We’re not the type of people to ask for anything but people took it upon themselves to raise it and we’re incredibly lucky.”As for Hunter, he is having his Hickman line removed in the next few months and doctors hope to perform a stoma reversal since he has recovered so well.He has also received messages of support from football teams around the country, including a video message from Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.Ryan said: “We’re hoping he can be better than ever back on the pitch – just minus the stomach aches.”



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