'Warrior' Edinburgh teenage boy forced to quit football after leg pain turns out to be rare form of cancer

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Kieran, 15, who was forced to give up football due to pain caused by rare cancer is a ‘warrior’ says mum.

An Edinburgh teenager who had to give up football after suffering worsening pain in his legs was given the devastating news that he had a rare type of aggressive cancer.

Kieran Smart was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in September last year – seven months after first going to the doctors complaining of severe pain in his legs. The Castlebrae High student then spent his fifteenth birthday in the cancer ward at the sick kids hospital following the bombshell diagnosis. He had been forced to give up playing football, due to bad pains he had experienced since before lockdown. After a battery of tests and scans, Kieran and his family faced a long and desperate wait for answers.

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Mum-of-two Leanne said it was a horrendous time for the family but support from Kieran’s school and the local community has helped them get through it. Recalling the day they found out Kieran had cancer, the 40-year-old mum said: “I will never forget that day. I was on my way to the airport. It was so upsetting and tough to take in.

Kieran Smart and his sister MylaKieran Smart and his sister Myla
Kieran Smart and his sister Myla

"We had so many months of not knowing what was wrong or how to help him. The cancer is deep in the bone so very hidden and made it hard to pick up. They told us first and then brought Kieran into the room. From the start he has been an absolute warrior. He just said it is what it is and we’ll get through it."

Kieran has been admitted to hospital many times with infections and had to spend his 15th birthday at the Edinburgh sick kids. But pals from school came in and celebrated with him. Leanne said teachers and pupils at the school have gone ‘above and beyond’ after raising £10,000 through a programme of events and crowdfunding campaign, which more than 300 people donated to.

She said: "It's been full on for Kieran with chemotherapy from five days at a time with a rest period after to more intense two day blasts. That left him very ill. He has suffered with side effects and been so tired but he just gets on with it. I know it's been tough for him. He is a jack the lad who loves being out and about with his pals on the bike or playing football.

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"For him not to be able to do much has been hard. At times he just couldn’t play with his sister, Myla. The phone is his lifeline because he can keep in touch with friends. We can’t thank people enough who have contributed to the campaign. It was meant to be £3,000 but they’ve ended up bringing in £10,000. It’s incredible.”

Kieran with sister Myla before he started treatmentKieran with sister Myla before he started treatment
Kieran with sister Myla before he started treatment

This weekend a team of dedicated teachers from Castlebrae is taking on the Edinburgh Marathon in the final leg of events to raise funds. All cash will be used to make a donation to the cancer ward currently supporting Kieran and it’s hoped the funds can be given to the family for financial support and post treatment experiences.

Accounts manager Leanne said: “The school has been amazing, like family to us. I can’t thank them enough. It has been tough on Kieran and I know he doesn’t want to ever be the centre of attention but the campaign means so much to us. Kieran has been strong and it’s his strength that has kept me staying positive. We will be there at the marathon to cheer on the staff from the school. After what Kieran has gone through we will do what we can to raise awareness and help bring an earlier diagnosis for young people.”

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