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Heighington lad receives new prosthetic leg from Ayrshire lotto winners
A TEENAGER who lost a leg to cancer “screamed with delight” after Britain’s biggest ever lottery jackpot winners offered to buy him a new prosthetic limb.
Kieran Maxwell, pictured right taking part in the Olympic flame relay, from Heighington , near Darlington, was diagnosed with the rare and agressive cancer Ewings Sarcoma, which affects fewer than 30 children a year, in October 2010.
Despite undergoing gruelling rounds of chemotheraphy, the 13-year-old, had to have his left leg amputated below the knee in March last year. His parents, Nicola and Alistair, and seven-year-old sister Alyssa have held a string of fundraising events to buy Kieran a life-changing new leg, as his current prosthetic weighs more than a stone and slows him down.
A five-figure donation from lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir, from Ayrshire, in Scotland, has allowed the family to order Kieran’s new leg immediately.
Mr and Mrs Weir have made several charitable donations since scooping £161m on the Euromillions in July last year.
The unexpected donation came after the grandmother of Kieran’s school friend, who lives in the same village as the Weirs, heard about Kieran’s situation and wrote to the wealthy couple to ask if they could help.
Mrs Maxwell said: “Kieran is our hero and we have been touched by all the support and kindness we’ve received since he was diagnosed with cancer.
“We thought it was going to take a long time to raise the money for a new prosthetic leg, but this donation from Chris and Colin means Kieran can get his new leg within six weeks. We can’t explain how much this means to us and Kieran.
“He screamed when he heard the news because it means that not only will he be able to walk again like all his friends, he will be able to run and climb too.
“We can’t thank the Weirs enough, because this will really change his life.”
The family intend to continue fundraising as Kieran, who carried the Olympic torch through Bishop Auckland last month, will need new legs as he grows.
It is hoped he will have his new leg by the end of August.
Kieran is currently enjoying a camping trip with the Scouts in the Yorkshire Dales with a group of friends including Ewan Barr.
It was Ewan’s grandmother, Lilian, who wrote the letter to the Weirs.
Speaking to The Northern Echo, Mrs Barr said: “I have never met Kieran, but have heard about him many times through Ewan and was thinking whether there was anything I could do to help. I do not know Chris and Colin, but they live nearby and they have done a lot locally, so I thought it was worth a try.
“I posted the letter on a Monday and by Thursday, I had had a call from their assistant, saying they wanted to help.”
Mrs Weir said: “When we heard about Kieran and his family’s fantastic efforts to raise money for a new prosthetic leg, we had to help.
“It is a privilege to support him and, with this new leg, we hope he will continue to be determined to remain active and live life to the full.”
Mr and Mrs Maxwell are helping to organise a barbecue for the Toma Fund, which supports children with cancer.
The event will be held at Bannatyne’s Hotel, in Darlington, on Friday, August 17, from 6.30pm. Tickets cost £15.95 for adults and £6.95 for children under 16. To book, visit tomafund