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I've read some sob stories in my time. I've even seen some of the bollocks The X Factor spews every year, but this story. This fucking story. Wow.
26-year-old Oliver Pugh has a story even worse than that of Geraldine McQueen, played by Peter Kay in Britain's Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice.
Since turning 22, father-of-two Oliver has battled three bouts of meningitis, MRSA, a heart attack, a cancerous tumour that left him paralysed, lost half a thumb and arguably, worst of all... his wife left him for his best man.
It all began in 2012 when Oliver went to his doctor with hip pain, assuming it was something to do with his work as a labourer or his Kung Fu.
The pain wouldn't go away though so he had an MRI scan and doctors found an anomaly in his back. They weren't sure if it was a cyst or a tumour.
Tests later showed that Oliver, from Buxton, Derbyshire, had a cancerous tumour and it needed to be removed. Two failed surgeries to remove it later, Oliver then contracted meningitis three times as a result of his spinal cord getting infected.
After losing half his thumb in an industrial accident in June 2012, he also picked up hospital superbug MRSA when the wound became infected.
In December 2015, after all that, he suffered a heart attack just as his wife left him.
"I was definitely the unluckiest man in the world," he said.
"Because of the tumour my heart was pumping more and more blood around my body and was needing to work harder and harder while the tumour kept growing.
"My marriage had broken down and I had moved back from where we were living in Chesterfield to Buxton."
On his way to pick up his deposit from his landlord, he had a horrible pain in his chest and genuinely thought he was going to die.
He pulled in to a lay-by and called an ambulance. He was in intensive care for a week.
Doctors diagnosed him with 'Broken Heart Syndrome'. Oliver assumed it was because he tried to carry on like normal, even with so much going on in his life.
Then, after his heart attack, he lost the use of his legs when the pressure from his tumour became too much for his body to handle.
Wheelchair bound, Oliver found out doctors were toying with the idea of amputation but decided to have one last go at removing the tumour.
He said: "They needed to rip out the whole tumour and it could have damaged my spinal cord permanently."
He went under the knife at the Stoke Royal Hospital and incredibly defied doctors by standing on his own two feet just a day after the operation.
Despite four years of absolute hell, Oliver's life is actually looking up. Not that he has any other direction to look in given the circumstances. He's now focusing all his attentions on setting up his own bar.
"I'm really happy that I've gone from having no prospects to now having lots," he said. "When I got better it strengthened my resolve."
Oliver's bar, called Gilbert's (don't ask), has just opened, despite the owner six months ago facing the prospect of never walking again.
He even hopes to take up Kung Fu again, something he was a former national and European champion at.
"Kung Fu to me is my life. I've been involved with it since I was six and not being able to do it while I was ill destroyed me more than anything else."
Oliver Pugh is made of far sterner stuff than me. He should be dead, or at least not walking, but he's not.
Just goes to show you should absolutely never give up on anything ever. Things can turn around.
Words by George Pavlou
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