Japan’s Albirex Niigata on Thursday announced that defender Fumiya Hayakawa has resumed light physical training nearly two years after he was diagnosed with acute leukemia.
The 24-year-old Niigata native was diagnosed in April of 2016, just two months after making his J.League debut. After undergoing a bone marrow transplant in November that year, he was discharged in June 2017 and has since received outpatient treatment and evaluations.
According to a post made to the club’s official website, the 24-year-old began running and other exercises at the team clubhouse earlier this year following the lifting of dietary and mobility restrictions.
“It has been a year and a half since I began fighting this illness. Sometimes it has been more difficult than I would have imagined, but even when I felt down I was able to stay positive thanks to all of the support I’ve received,” Hayakawa wrote in a statement.
“It will be a slow process but I have begun training in order to return to the pitch. After the last 18 months it’s so much fun to move my body and kick the ball. The road ahead may present even more difficulties than I’ve faced thus far, but I won’t forget my determination to fight on.”
Albirex further announced that they have raised a total of over 26.6 million yen (US$250,000) to support Hayakawa through his recovery process.