Young Sunderland fan, 14, who had leg amputated after cancer diagnosis just wants to get back on the pitch
Theo Richardson, 14, from Seaburn is undergoing physiotherapy at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital to learn to walk again on his new prosthetic leg.
He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, in 2022.
A keen footballer, who played for the SAFC Foundation and the Russell Foster Youth League right up until he became ill, Theo began to feel pain in his knee last summer.
Mum Luisa, 43, explains: “Theo is massively into his football and plays a lot, but last August he started getting a problem with his knee, he couldn’t walk it was so painful.
"We went back and forth to the hospital, but all they did was to give him Codeine. We knew it wasn’t right, so we insisted on an X-Ray and they said we had to go to the RVI straight away. The next morning they told him there and then it was cancer.”
The scan had revealed an 11cm tumour on Theo’s right knee, which had aggressively grown in a matter of weeks.
"We’re so glad that we pushed for that X-Ray and that it wasn’t able to spread even further,” explained Luisa.
As well as currently undergoing gruelling chemotherapy treatment, Theo underwent surgery in November last year to amputate his right leg 18cms above the knee.
Despite the devastating diagnosis, however, the St Robert of Newminster pupil has shown great resilience and is determined to get back to playing sport with the help of prosthetic limbs.
He’s already managing to exceed physiotherapists’ expectations on his new limb and he one day hopes to join an amputee football league.
"He’s amazing,” said Luisa. “I know I’m his mam, but I’ve never known a kid be so brave. He just gets on with it and bounces back.
“He always sees the positive, doesn't complain and will often remind us that ‘he feels lucky as some kids are much more unwell’. Theo has always been very active and was always on the go. His nickname is Mouse, because he would run around the house when he was little, like a little mouse.”
The mum-of-two added: “He had his first physio last week on the prosthetic and they said it usually takes people a few weeks to get onto the one that bends at the knee, and he had it on in 15 minutes. He just can’t wait to be running around again.”
Theo, who lives with mum Luisa, dad Angus and brother Marcus, 16, will need a number of prosthetics as he gets older and grows, including a blade for sport, and the community has rallied round to help him.
His godparents have organised a fundraising raffle with an impressive line-up of prizes including: 43” Full HD Smart TV, weekend at luxury holiday house in Appleby, signed framed Liverpool Jordan Henderson Shirt, £100 Aphrodite Vouchers, M&S Hamper, Shelly at the Hair Bar voucher, Jill Scott signed shirt, SAFC signed football, SAFC signed shirt from this season and various prizes including wine, spirits and chocolates.
Raffle strips are £5 and entry closes at noon on January 28. Contact Mark McGill on 07976540613.
Luisa said: “We never expected this level of help, but his godparents wanted to do something and the community has been amazing. So too have mine and Angus’s friends. My friend Joanne even bought the TV for the raffle herself.
"Theo is chuffed with all the support. The prizes are amazing, particularly the signed shirts, Theo loves SAFC and Jordan Pickford is one of his favourite players. He’s been wearing a Pickford shirt for his physiotherapy.”
To donate to Theo’s Just Giving page visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/luisa-deehan