Cancer victim's family praises charity website

The mum of a teenager who died from bone cancer has backed a West Yorkshire charity's new website to help families affected by the illness.

Alex Dawson, from Wakefield, lost his fight against bone cancer in November 2007, aged 16.

The talented cross country runner and rugby union player had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma two years previously.

He had part of his leg replaced with a metal prosthesis and the bone with titanium, as well as intensive chemotherapy.

However, halfway through sitting his GCSEs, medics found the cancer had spread to his lungs.

He still managed to pass his exams with flying colours, but lost his fight for life months later.

Now his mum Sarah has backed Bone Cancer Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday.

Leeds-based charity the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT) has launched a new website to provide expert information for patients and their families.

Mrs Dawson said: "This is the type of information that we would have loved to have had when Alex was diagnosed as we found it hard to find information.

"As a family we felt so alone as there weren't many people that we could talk to.

"The support network on the website will be brilliant for families of people with bone cancer, as they can get in contact with people who know what they are going through and understand how they feel."

Bone cancer is rare, so sufferers can feel isolated, and often diagnosed late as the pain it causes can be attributed to growing pains.

The disease also claimed the life of young footballer Luke Tunstall, from Leeds, who died in 2006 aged 17.

Mike Francis, BCRT chairman, said: "Over the last five years, patients and their families have told us that they need information to help them cope with a diagnosis of bone cancer.

"I know that my family was hungry for information when our family was affected by bone cancer.

"We would have really benefited from the information on our new website."

There has been no improvement in survival rates for over 20 years, which the charity is aiming to change by funding research.

One of its latest projects is to investigate whether a non-dangerous form of the Salmonella bacteria can kill bone cancer cells

Researchers at the University of Nottingham are to modify the bacteria to act as a carrier of cancer-killing agents.

Log on to for more information on the charity, which is also being supported by Holly Branson, daughter of Richard.