Conversation between mother and son, Nicola and Kieran, about Kieran's experience of cancer, having his leg amputated and carrying the Olympic torch.
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The Listening Project
BBC Tees, Middlesbrough
Maxwell, Nicola, 1978- (female, full-time carer), Maxwell, Kieran, 1998- (male, school boy)
In October 2010 Kieran Maxwell was diagnosed with bone cancer in his left leg. After chemotherapy and the amputation of his leg, he was in remission. In May 2013 the cancer returned, but this time in his lungs. He was given the money for an artificial leg by two local lottery winners (Colin and Chris Weir) who heard about his story on the news. The prosthetic leg was expensive and the money would have paid off their mortgage according to mum. This has enabled him to regain his mobility, buy an extra 'blade' prosthetic and the more specialised limbs have made him fitter and stronger than before the cancer returned. It resulted in him being nominated by a local teaching assistant for his courage in fighting cancer and learning to walk again to carry the Olympic Torch on the 17th June in the local parade. In the glare of the international press he collapsed and had to be helped onto his feet again before walking to the hand-over point. The prosthetic leg he was wearing for the parade couldn't lock the knee against the weight of the torch and he simply buckled under the weight. Kieran has been inspired by the Paralympics and he wants to compete in future competitions in his favourite discipline which is gymnastics which is currently not represented at the Olympics. Nicola is concerned at the strength of the chemotherapy he has endured and the long-term effects on his health. Nicola feels that not enough money is spent on research into children's bone cancer. His current treatment means he doesn't have to spend long periods in hospital as he carries his chemo around in a bumbag. Both are anxious about Kieran's prognosis, wondering if the doctors don't know or don't want to say.
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