A teenager who faces having a bone in her leg replaced as she fights a rare cancer has been hailed as an “inspiration” by a boxing star.
Josie King, from Sunderland, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma at the start of August when a lump appeared at the top of her leg and she felt unwell.
She has begun what could be a year of treatment, with chemotherapy already been given to the 13-year-old Sandhill View student through the children’s cancer unit, at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Within nine days her long hair had started to fall out and an operation to remove the tumour in her thighbone is scheduled for the end of November, with her progress being followed through the Facebook page Boxer Josie King’s Fight Against Cancer.
It is likely a metal rod will be put into her leg in place of the bone.
The schoolgirl’s spirits are being kept high thanks to her love of boxing.
She’s determined she will get back.Mum Donna Doneathy
Josie is a member of Houghton Boxing Club. Now, Josh Kelly, who has just returned from boxing at the Rio Olympics, has offered his support, presenting the vest he wore during his bouts at the games to Josie.
Her mum Donna Doneathy, 40, who is also mum to Jack, 12, and Jessica, 19, said: “It’s boxing that’s keeping her going. When I’ve been with her in hospital, she’s been asking when she can go back.
“She’s determined she will get back. She was absolutely over the moon when she was given the vest. She really looks up to Josh and was watching when he was fighting.
“It’s lifted her spirits.”
Donna added her thanks to Dr Gail Haliday, Josie’s oncologist, for her support during the treatment programme.
Josh, 22, said; “I know she says I’ve been a massive inspiration, but really, for me, it’s the other way round because of what she’s going through.
“I know she’s had to stop coming to the gym, but I know she’s a good boxer.
“She’s got a massive heart and obviously a really strong young lady.”
Josh’s dad Paul, 53, who encouraged his son to get involved in the sport to build his confidence as a schoolboy, is also his coach.
Paul said: “We heard about Josie and thought this would be a nice thing to do.
“We hope she’s better soon.”
Fewer than 30 children in the UK develop Ewing sarcoma each year and it usually occurs in the teenage years, but is more common in boys.