THE mother of a teenager battling a rare bone cancer for the second time in his life has backed a national campaign to raise awareness.
Earlier this year, Kieran Maxwell suffered a relapse of the Ewing’s Sarcoma that resulted in him having his left leg amputated at the knee.
The 15-year-old, from Heighington, near Darlington, is undergoing chemotherapy and stem cell treatment.
His mother, Nicola, is battling to raise awareness of both childhood cancers and cancers of the skeletal system.
As well as supporting bone cancer awareness week, which runs from October 5 to 12, Mrs Maxwell is backing a campaign to make September childhood cancer awareness month in the UK.
This would tie-in with October being breast cancer awareness month and November being designated for male cancer awareness.
More than 600 people have signed the petition so far, with the aim of collecting 100,000 signatures.
Mrs Maxwell thinks one of the reasons that childhood bone cancers are not as high-profile as some other cancers is because so few youngsters are affected.
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, fewer than 30 children are diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma each year.
Mrs Maxwell said: “Don’t get me wrong, I am pleased that so few children are affected by this.
“Compare the number affected by Ewing’s to breast cancer, which thousands of women are diagnosed with every year.
“We are trying to drum up support and get people to realise what happens to these children who are affected, but it’s not easy.”
Kieran hopes to be able to continue his promising athletics career after completing his treatment.
In May, shortly after receiving the news that his cancer had returned, this time in his chest, Kieran won the wheelchair acrobatics session in a national gymnastics competition, with partner Abbie Ramsey, from Shildon.
He has a custom-made prosthetic limb, which enables him to compete as a runner and last month took part in the Mini Great North Run in support of the Bone Cancer Research Trust.
The trust has spent around a third of its funding on research into Ewing’s Sarcoma.
It recently awarded £75,000 to Professor Sue Burchill, from Leeds University, for a laboratory-based project searching for the Ewing’s cells responsible for relapse and treatment failure.
The long term goal is to develop more effective treatment with minimal toxicity to improve cure rates. For more information about the events planned as part of the awareness week, visit bcrt.org.uk and to sign the e-petition Mrs Maxwell is backing, visit epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/54976