Martial Arts Instructor, Cancer Survivor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/23/03 - Longview

Martial Arts Instructor, Cancer Survivor

An East Texas man is using his talent for martial arts to celebrate his victory over cancer. For 20 year old Tony Splawn of Gilmer, teaching Tae Kwon Do is the best job he could ever have. What makes Splawn unique is that he's a leukemia survivor. He was diagnosed at the age of two with a rare form, he went through the treatments, and there were many times when his family was told by doctors to prepare for the end.

"There was a time when they came in and told my parents they had done all they could medically possible to save me and if I did make it I would never walk again without physical therapy" says Splawn.

Fortunately, he did make it, and he thinks it's because his future was in martial arts. And he passes on his message of hope to his students. "The adversity that he has overcome. He's mature way beyond his years and I think that has a lot to do with the kind of discipline that he's grown to develop," said student Robert Abnell.

"There's a lot of people that after they go through situations in their life, they just give up. I tell people just don't give up, just keep fighting there's always a way to overcome your obstacles" says Splawn.

In total remission for years now, he has won gold and bronze medals in U.S. nationals Tae Kwon Do competitions, but he gets his greatest thrill from teaching kids. For now, he enjoys every day as it comes.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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