Bravery of Leeds teenager with bone cancer

Kelsey Buckley
Kelsey Buckley
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A TEENAGER with cancer had her leg amputated after being given the stark choice of “your leg or your life”.

Kelsey Buckley underwent the surgery following repeated infections after she was treated for bone cancer.

Last summer the 15-year-old had her left leg amputated above the knee – and her mum Kim said it was “a relief”.

“That was the best thing the doctors did,” Kim said.

“She had been through so much. The only thing to do was amputate. She was in agony.”

Kelsey, from Seacroft, Leeds, was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in 2011 after she noticed a lump on her leg.

Her GP referred her to hospital and tests showed it was cancer.

The teenager first underwent chemotherapy, before having her tibia removed and replaced with a metal prosthesis at Birmingham Royal Orthopaedic Hospital – which provides specialist bone cancer treatment – in 2012. Then she had more chemotherapy, but kept getting infections in the site of her surgery.

Medics eventually told her amputation was the only way to solve the problem.

“They told me in Birmingham that it was my life or my leg,” Kelsey said.

She had the operation last August and has coped well with the recovery, apart from having some phantom pains in the leg which had been removed.

“I have got a false leg, I just need to learn to walk with it,” the teenager added.

“At the moment I don’t use it, I just get about on crutches.”

Kelsey, who has a twin sister Kara as well as sisters Shelby and Keavy and brothers John-Paul and Aidan, still manages to attend East Leeds Academy full-time.

She and her mum have spoken out after being supported by the Leeds-based charity Bone Cancer Research Trust.

“We were scared at first by then you start getting through it,” Kim added.

“I said ‘Kelsey, don’t die’ and she said ‘I won’t leave you’.

“She’d say ‘what are you crying for, it’s only cancer’.”

The mum-of-six added that Kelsey had been doing well since the amputation and has regained her appetite after her weight plummeted: “She’s brilliant, I’m very proud of her.”

Kim said they were lucky that their GP was so quick to refer them to hospital.

“Sometimes people aren’t diagnosed for six months and it’s much harder to cure,” she added.

* Osteosarcoma may be one of the lesser-known cancers, but a new film is bringing it to the attention of audiences.

The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old cancer patient who meets bone cancer sufferer Augustus Waters at a support group.

Based on the novel by John Green, it stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort.

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