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Heighington teenager fitted with prosthetic legs after major fundraising campaign
KIERAN MAXWELL has been to more appointments for prosthetic leg fittings than he can remember.
He was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in October 2010, resulting in the loss of his left leg at the knee.
So the 14-year-old, from Heighington, near Darlington, treats appointments with prosthetists as routine. But yesterday was different.
His eyes visibly widened when he got a first look at the bladed false limb, similar to those worn by South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius.
He could not stop himself from grinning broadly as consultant prosthetist Mark Woolsey helped him try the leg out for size at the Dorset Orthopaedic clinic, in Burton-on-Trent.
The limb, designed and built by specialists at the clinic, will allow Kieran to exercise.
Dozens of hours went into the “gym leg”, which has a sleek silver finish and offers Kieran a greater range of movement than before.
He will return to Staffordshire next week to collect another prosthetic for every day use.
Fundraising to help make Kieran’s life as normal as possible began last year.
Heighington Scouts and Hummersknott School, in Darlington, where Kieran is in year ten, are among the major contributors.
His parents, Nicola and Alistair, received a major boost in the summer, when EuroMillions jackpot winners Chris and Colin Weir, from Ayrshire, made a five-figure contribution.
Their donation has gone towards Kieran’s every day leg, but meant the family could afford the gym leg, which had previously been less of a priority.
The gym leg will be used sparingly at first, with further physio sessions needed before Kieran can use it regularly.
Mrs Maxwell is hopeful he will soon be able to use it in training, exhibitions and competitions with his friends at Athena Sports Academy, a gym group with a section for youngsters with physical and learning disabilities.
A cherished ambition of Mrs Maxwell’s is that acrobatic gymnastics will be included in future Paralympic games and she would love to see Kieran compete for Team GB in years to come.
For now, getting used to his new leg is a priority for Kieran, who has been in remission for just over a year.
Not that it looks like being a problem – the teenager is already a big fan of the prosthetic, which comes complete with a Nike branded sports sleeve over the blade.
He said: “It’s brilliant. I really like it and never want to take it off.
“It gives me much more freedom – I can jump up and down and bounce.”
Running and back-flips are now a real possibility, things which seemed unthinkable when Mr and Mrs Maxwell gave doctors the go-ahead to amputate Kieran’s leg and, in doing so, improve his chances of long-term survival.
Fundraising is continuing for the prosthetic legs Kieran, will need as he grows up.A typical teenager, he jokes about building up a collection of old prosthetics in between sharing funny videos from YouTube.
Regular cancer check-ups will always be on the agenda for Kieran, who wants to be a police officer when he is older.
All that is for the future.
In the meantime, his new leg will help him enjoy life to the fullest, to the delight of his mother.
She said: “It will allow him to compete at gymnastics, both at a disabled and mainstream level, and to achieve his full potential.”
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