Nine lives of 'luckiest unlucky man' Matthew Hawksley
When keen triathlete Matthew Hawksley dived off a cliff in Ireland - not realising how shallow the water was below - his life changed forever.
The 25-year-old welder from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, broke his neck as he crashed on to submerged rocks in June 2011.
The shock caused his heart to stop. Rescuers revived him four times before taking him to hospital.
While there, Mr Hawksley contracted pneumonia and shortly after, MRSA.
He pulled through, but his life-threatening illnesses were not yet over.
During rehabilitation, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Doctors have now given him the all clear.
End Quote Matthew Hawksley
You get up, crack on and at the end of the day you crack on some more.”
Despite apparently cheating death eight times, Mr Hawksley still believes he is the "luckiest unlucky man" and is now training for a triathlon this summer, hoping to raise money for cancer and spinal injury charities.
"It couldn't be written really. I suspect it would make a good read if I wrote a book about all this," he said.
"Looking back at what I've been through, it's really hard but I don't feel down about it, I never have.
"It's the way I am. I've dealt with everything positively. The glass is half-empty and I'm always trying to fill it."
Mr Hawksley, who describes himself as "technically a paraplegic", has been attending an exercise referral scheme at a gym in Huntingdon since January.
His instructor, Michelle Cave, said: "He told me he wanted to do the triathlon, and he has been making improvements all the time.
"Each week Matt can walk a bit faster and a bit further."
He arrived in a wheelchair, she said, but quickly progressed to using crutches.
"Now he's walking completely unaided," she said.
"Matt's got a fantastic attitude to everything he does. He's very positive and 100% determined he'll complete this triathlon."'Be the best'
Mr Hawksley admitted his rehabilitation and training sessions had been difficult.
"I'd be lying if I said it was easy. It was extremely hard initially, when you can't move, when you're completely paralysed," he said.
"Perseverance has been my main asset. You get up, crack on and at the end of the day you crack on some more."
He put his determination down to the support of his family, friends and the medical staff who had helped him over the past two years.
"Being depressed and getting down is all a bit too much effort. I'd rather get stuck in and get cracking," he said.
Staying positive throughout his ordeal "came naturally", Mr Hawksley said.
"If I get down, I find music a great healer. My mother always pranced around to Diana Ross and the Supremes - a bit of Motown always cheers me up.
"In a way I'm glad it's happened to me because I know full well I'm capable of dealing with each blow, whereas a lot of people wouldn't be," he added.
His next challenge is to "be the best I can be".
"I would love to be able to walk back on to a workshop floor, pick up a welder and get cracking. But the reality is if I ever do it, it will be quite a long time off," Mr Hawksley said.
"We'll see how this triathlon goes, how fit and close to normality I can get, and go from there.
"Call it 'un-luck', call it fate - you get dealt the hand you get dealt," he added.
"It's not worth living your life full of pipe dreams."