Horsham YMCA chairman Mick Browning says he has been totally overwhelmed by the amount of support he received during his five month battle with Leukemia.
Now in remission having been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) - a rare cancer of the blood - in June, Mick says he is getting stronger every day and looking towards the future positively.
“I couldn’t believe how many people got in touch with goodwill messages, it was quite amazing,” said Mick, Horsham FC’s all-time record goalscorer.
“There were phone calls, as well as stacks of letters and cards from all over the place which has been totally overwhelming.”
It was at the Sussex County League end of season dinner back in June - where Mick received the prestigious 50 years service to football award - that his son Stephen realised how serious his condition was and insisted he visit the doctor.
Having undergone treatment at Worthing Hospital he was told his bone marrow was no longer producing the leukemic cells and he returned home in early November, in time to spend Christmas with his family.
Now well on the mend, Mick, 72, said: “It’s been a life-changing experience, you never imagine this sort of thing happening to you but it can happen to anybody.
“But getting the good news that I was in remission was wonderful. I still do get tired quite easily but I’m getting stronger every day, putting on weight and staying positive.”
And he added: “The whole thing makes you look at life so differently and it’s been so humbling to know so many people are interested in your welfare.”
Mick said the support of his family was vital, in particular that of wife Pat, and the pair were still able to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary on September 29. He also said a special thanks to the staff at Worthing.
Mick’s award saw him honoured for more than half a century’s distinguished service to football which began when he was 14 playing for Horsham YMCA, managed by his father. In three spells as a player for Horsham he scored 255 goals in 265 games - a club record - and while playing for Tooting he earned two England Amateurs caps. During his playing days he was never booked or sent off.
Mick, who has always lived in the town, went on to manage both Horsham and the YMCA, and was chairman of Horsham for ten years before taking over the role at YM.
“Receiving the award was a great honour and because you have to be nominated for it, it makes it that bit more special,” Mick said.
Mick will continue as YM chairman, although he will take on a less hands on role.
He thanked those at the club who had done such a good job in his absence and is looking forward to getting back down to Gorings Mead to watch his beloved YM in action.