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FORT JACKSON, S.C. (AP) - Army Chaplain Jeremiah Catlin is running marathons, but it's taken him six years to get there after beating Stage 4 melanoma.

The Wichita, Kansas, native discovered a lump growing on his chest while deployed to Iraq in 2007.

Army doctors told the 32-year-old to go home and celebrate the last Christmas he would ever have.

He says he told God in his prayers that he must have made a mistake.

But he found doctors who helped him beat the cancer with three surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.

And he slowly worked to regain his top physical form, running his first marathon at the Darlington Raceway in the fall and training for another in February.

Now, Catlin says he thinks God gave him the experience of overcoming cancer to help him be a better minister to others who are suffering.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.