THE family of a 12-year-old boy battling a rare form of cancer have started a trust fund to secure his future after the disease claimed part of his leg.

Kieran Maxwell underwent an amputation at the knee of his left leg in March after doctors discovered he was suffering from Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of cancer which attacks bone and muscle tissues.

The young football player and Newcastle United fan, from Heighington, near Darlington, is still fighting the disease, and is undergoing aggressive chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer.

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Kieran, who attends Hummersknott Language College in Darlington, has missed school since his diagnosis in October last year, as the chemotherapy - which is equivalent to an adult dose - has made him ill and vulnerable to infection.

Parents, Alistair, 36, and Nicola, 33, are setting up a trust fund to provide a brighter future for Kieran and help him pay for any medical costs or equipment he may need.

Kieran is also being supported by younger sister Lissie, six, and other family members.

His scout group, Heighington Scouts, are fundraising for him, and Hummersknott have also held events to raise money.

Mrs Maxwell took Kieran to the family GP after noticing a swelling in his leg. When antibiotics failed to have any effect, he was x-rayed, and then sent to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, for more tests.

He was diagnosed on October 29 last year, and put on a course of chemotherapy, expected to last until September.

Tests showed the cancer was confined to the lower part of Kieran's left leg, which doctors amputated on March 31.

"It was devastating," said Mrs Maxwell. "You don't think of a 12-year-old having cancer. It was such a shock.

Mrs Maxwell has also given up working as a self-employed children's clothes maker to care for Kieran full time.

Keiran said: "It has been very difficult and scary. I was very nervous about my surgery and it's been quite hard to cope with.

"I can't do swimming or play football at the moment but hopefully I will be able to one day. I really hope we can raise money so I can have a better future."

* Mr and Mrs Maxwell have organised a Seventies night at Heighington Village Hall, with Abba tribute band Toxic, on Friday, July 8, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10, including pie and peas, and all proceeds will go to Kieran's trust fund. Call 01325-314394 or 07595-928429 for tickets.