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Budziński back from the brink in Poland

Published: Thursday 30 October 2008, 17.59CET
Having been dubbed the Polish Lance Armstrong after successfully battling against cancer, Arka Gdynia midfielder Marcin Budziński told uefa.com he has set his sights on becoming his nation's very own Steven Gerrard.
by Piotr Koźmiński
from Warsaw
Budziński back from the brink in Poland
Arka Gdynia midfielder Marcin Budziński has been through a traumatic year ©Arka Gdynia SSA
Published: Thursday 30 October 2008, 17.59CET

Budziński back from the brink in Poland

Having been dubbed the Polish Lance Armstrong after successfully battling against cancer, Arka Gdynia midfielder Marcin Budziński told uefa.com he has set his sights on becoming his nation's very own Steven Gerrard.
Having been dubbed the Polish Lance Armstrong after successfully battling against cancer, Arka Gdynia midfielder Marcin Budziński told uefa.com he has set his sights on becoming his nation's Steven Gerrard.

National interest
Budziński's trials have become front-page news in Poland ever since the day he received the worst news of his life. "One year ago I was told by a doctor that I had cancer and should forget about football because my life was in serious danger," he told uefa.com. "I was so shocked. I could not believe that at 17 I had such a serious illness. It was a terrible feeling but I said to myself: come on, you can win this fight. And I did."

Stomach pains
Rated by Arka coach Czesław Michniewicz as one of the most talented players of his generation, Budziński's career was almost over before it had begun. "I was playing in the Polish junior championship when suddenly I started to feel a terrible pain in my stomach," he recalled. "They took me to the hospital, did an operation and sent some material to verify whether it was dangerous or not. Unfortunately it was.

Grim birthday
"Immediately, I started to read the books about it and got some hope as statistics pointed that it is possible to win this battle," he added. "There was no time to lose so I started chemotherapy very quickly. I will never forget that first session was on my 17th birthday. For months I was very weak, but when I watched football games on TV I said to myself: 'Don't worry. One day you will play again.'"

Happy outcome
Doctors were more pessimistic, telling him to forget about football; Budziński had other ideas. "Football is the love of my life and I was determined to get back on the pitch," he said. "After months of intensive treatment, I heard the news I was waiting for: I had won my most difficult match and doctors allowed me to play again. I can assure you: that day there was nobody on the earth happier than me."

Personal hero
Now Budziński is looking to build a future with Arka, and made his league debut against Legia Warszawa in September. "I have been given a second shot at life and I don't want to waste it," said the 18-year-old, who still undergoes monthly tests to assess his condition. "I have talent and will do everything to make a career. My hero is Steven Gerrard. Like him, I like fighting and scoring great goals. I would like to hear one day that I play as well as he does. That is my biggest dream."

Last updated: 30/10/08 16.52CET

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