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Notre Dame’s new ‘Rudy’ is Arturo Martinez, a cancer survivor -- Walk on will bring back Rudy memories to Fighting Irish fans

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Notre Dame's Arturo Martinez
Notre Dame's Arturo Martinez

Miami: Notre Dame will have an inspirational player to match the famous Rudy story when they play Alabama tonight in the BCS Bowl.

Arturo Martinez will be suited up tonight for the Fighting Irish, a walk on who has survived Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma.

He will take part in the pre-game warm ups with his team. “It will be 20 minutes of being just like the other guys," Martinez told the Miami Herald. "I’ll look up and see an ocean of people for the national championship game in my own backyard.”

Rudy Ruettiger is a legend for walking on at Notre Dame and getting to make the team in his final game as a senior, even for one play.

But Rudy never battled cancer and still made the team.

Arturo Martinez will not get into the game on Monday night. Hopefully as a senior he will get a walk on role, but his inspirational story will drive the Notre Dame legend once again, as a place where magical things can and do happen.

Read more: Joining the Notre Dame faithful in Miami on a mission

Martinez was a sports crazy ninth grader in Miami when cancer was first diagnosed,a golf ball sized tumor on his jaw.

He conquered the cancer and made his high school football team as a defensive end in his final year and went to Notre Dame, a college that had always inspired him.

After attending his first football game he decided to try out as a walk on.

The odds were huge, but like cancer, Arturo wanted to beat the odds.

“There are kids sitting in that chemotherapy room right now wishing they had the energy to play a sport...I had to do this not only for me, for them.”

After seven months getting in condition with the help of a Notre Dame conditioning coach, he sent his tapes to the team. A few days before the end of his freshman year he was accepted.

So like Rudy, Arturo is an inspirational figure.

“I call him Rudolfo," said Arturo Martinez Jr, Art’s father, “He’s our miracle."

On Monday night he will be a hero for everyone.

Read more: Joining the Notre Dame faithful in Miami on a mission

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