A BRAVE Black Country runner hopes to raise cash for a cause close to his heart when he takes on the Great Birmingham Run later this year after overcoming two life-threatening illnesses and a broken ankle in one year.

Christian Caddick was anticipating the happiest year of his life after his girlfriend Sarah agreed to marry him just over a year ago, but he had no idea what lay ahead.

The 25-year-old technical manager for Third Financial Software, Halesowen, was diagnosed with testicular cancer three weeks after getting engaged - after discovering a lump beneath his chest.

Surgery followed but - after it was discovered the disease had spread to his lymph nodes - he also underwent a gruelling nine-week chemotherapy course.

Luckily, he entered remission on October 16 and signed up to take on the Great Birmingham Run half marathon a few months later but shortly afterwards he broke his left ankle, ending up in plaster for seven weeks, after skidding down a bank while fetching a football during a game.

To add insult to injury - while bedbound with a fever - Christian became short of breath and was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.

He said: “Looking back now, it’s hard to believe what’s happened. To go from getting engaged to being diagnosed with cancer in exactly three weeks, then to break my ankle and get a blood clot on my lung, it’s been a stressful, surreal year."

The Wordsley-born former Edgecliff High School student admits to having suffered "some really bad days - especially after the blood clot" but he says he "soon snapped out of it" and he added: "I try to see positives in everything. I’m really lucky to be here and want to embrace everything."

Christian, who was treated for cancer at the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Young Person’s Unit at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is now urging others to join him in the Great Birmingham Run, which he is running for #TeamTeenageCancer to help the charity which he credits with helping him on the road to recovery.

He said: "Teenage Cancer Trust are aiming to raise £25,000 at the half marathon and I want to help them achieve this. Their staff helped save my life and were so supportive during my treatment. I now want to help them save more lives.”

Christian, who plans to wed his long-term partner Sarah in July 2017, ran the Great Birmingham Run for the first time back in 2014 in 1.53hrs. He had been intending to run in last year's event until his cancer diagnosis stopped him in his tracks.

He's now on track for this year's 13.1-mile event on Sunday October 16, having started light jogging, but he said: "I probably won’t be as competitive as last time, but I have a different motivation to get round this year, as Teenage Cancer Trust need all the help they can get."

Emily Cooper, regional fundraiser for the West Midlands at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “For Christian to run the half marathon after the year he’s had is just incredible and we’re hoping his story will inspire others to join him and #TeamTeenageCancer.

“We’re aiming to recruit our biggest Great Birmingham Run team to date and raise £25,000, to support more young people across the West Midlands with cancer."

Christian’s struggles bear an uncanny resemblance to those of fellow Great Birmingham Run participant Geoff Horsfield, a former Birmingham City and West Brom striker, who has also beaten testicular cancer, blood clots on the lung and a fractured ankle.

Stoke City fan Christian, who grew up in Swindon and Bobbington and now lives in Coleridge Rise, Gornal, said: "It will be interesting to meet Geoff at the half marathon and compare notes.”

To enter the Great Birmingham Run visit website www.greatrun.org/great-birmingham-run.

Runners who took part in the Great Birmingham 10K in May are eligible for an exclusive £10 discount.

Those signing up for the half marathon will also be given priority entry into the first Birmingham International Marathon in October 2017.

Anyone interested in running the Great Birmingham Run for #TeamTeenageCancer can visit www.teenagecancertrust.org/greatbirminghamrun.

To sponsor Christian visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ChristianCaddick988