By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – A 17-year-old Taekwondo instructor and martial arts prodigy in Stapleton can add another incredible accomplishment to his resume – cancer survivor.
“I feel great,” Isaac Martin, who teaches at Stapleton Family Karate, said. “I got through it, and I’m feeling a lot better.
Martin was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a rare and aggressive cancer, in September 2017. For several weeks, the teen endured grueling chemotherapy treatments four times a day. He told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann that October the toughest part about his fight was being away from his students.
“It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders to be able to get back to helping my students and supporting them,” Martin said Wednesday evening. “Their support definitely helped me get out of the hospital bed and back to work.”
During Martin’s many months away from the studio, several of his students and their families came by Children’s Hospital to wish him well.
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“We visited him twice and we gave him so many presents,” said Carter Tulk, a 7-year-old student. “Mr. Isaac is super nice. He is one of the best.”
Some of Martin’s smallest students are his biggest supporters. Their love for him on and off the mat is what kicked his recovery into high gear.
“That helped me a lot,” Martin said. “Just knowing that the students were thinking of me, wishing I was getting better. I got better for them because I wanted to get back in here and teach them because that’s what I love.”
Martin is now in remission and will complete his final chemo treatment at the end of the month. Not only is he back to teaching, he’s also training for the National Martial Arts Alliance competition in Denver this July.
“I’m still on chemotherapy, so after chemotherapy I come [to the studio] and I train in the mornings and do classes at night,” he said.
Martin told CBS4 he gets his energy to keep pushing forward from his students. Without a doubt his karate family will keep supporting him every step of the way.
“It’s a great feeling,” Martin said.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.