NO MATTER how far his fledgling snooker career may take him, young potter Jack Lisowski knows he has already beaten the biggest challenge he will ever face - by the age of just 18.
For Lisowski, who trains at Sheffield's World Snooker Academy, was forced to put his dreams of snooker stardom on hold while he battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer which affects the body's lymphatic system.
"I was diagnosed about two years ago," Jack told The Star at the Academy, housed at the English Institute of Sport.
"I've been clear for over a year now - I still have to go for scans, but it's looking pretty good. At the time, I'd just left school, done all my exams and was ready to just concentrate on snooker - so it came at an unfortunate time."
The cancer is common in males aged 15-35.
Lisowski had 16 bouts of chemotherapy, which took its toll on both body and mind.
"I was starting to feel really down - I had to have eight months of treatment, and after six months I thought to myself: 'I just can't take anymore'. But I read Lance Armstrong's book, and he said: 'Just fight as hard as you can'.
"I'll never forget those words - they gave me a real lift. It is a fight, it is a battle, but it's one worth fighting."
The Gloucestershire-born teenager believes that the support from his family helped him beat the disease, but concedes that he was not always optimistic about his chances of survival. "The first three days were so hard," he admitted.
"I felt really ill, and my mind began to wonder. I started thinking really negative things, and I was convinced I was going to die. But my consultant told me: 'I will do my best to cure you, and I'm confident I can'. I never looked back from there, and every scan after that saw the lump go down."
Lisowski is currently second in the Pontin's International Open Series rankings - the top eight of which qualify for next season's professional tour.
"At the end of the day it's a game; it's just how I make a living; something I really enjoy doing," he said.
"I feel dreadful after I lose, gutted, but it lasts for about five minutes before I think 'get a grip - it could be a lot worse'."
This guy Jack comes across as very mature for his age, facing a tough illness at such a young age and to come out the other side with this wonderful attitude is inspirational for all. Jack is well placed to be on the main tour next year, I for one will be keeping a close eye on his career and I hope he can rise to the top and show adversity can be overcome.
http://www.thestar.co.uk/snooker/Jack39 ... 6042130.jp
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