Jamaal Lascelles sends touching letter to teenage Newcastle United fan from South Shields facing leg amputation on his birthday
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Kai Heslop, 19, was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer in his left leg called osteosarcoma in January 2021 after complaining of persistent pain in his leg following two minor injuries.
The Horsley Hill teenager went on to develop a large lump on the side of his left leg and when the pain became so severe on January 25 he went to A&E at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Kai underwent an X-Ray and MRI scan and just days later was referred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where he underwent a biopsy and doctors told him he had a rare bone cancer tumour at the top of his left leg.
Following his ‘earth shattering’ diagnosis Kai embarked on a 10-week course of intensive chemotherapy, following which doctors told him that the cancer has not spread beyond his leg.
However as part of his life-saving treatment Kai will need to have his leg amputated above the knee, surgery scheduled at the Freeman Hospital on Tuesday, May 11 – his 20th birthday.
Praising Kai’s bravery, his uncle, Steven Lomas, 35, said: “It is unbelievable how he is dealing with it.
“He is exceptionally courageous and is taking everything in his stride.
"He is very optimistic and very positive – it is inspirational.”
Kai’s mother Danielle Lomas and his siblings Nicole, Mason and Rhys Heslop, are also so proud of his courage.
Kai’s bravery has even caught the attention of Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles who wrote to Toon Army fan to say that the squad was behind him as he ‘tackles the biggest fight of his life.’
Lascelles said: “I am just dropping you a short note to wish you all the very best on behalf of myself and the rest of the lads here at St James’ Park as I know you have a great battle ahead of you.”
Uncle Steven also offered words of advice to Kai, saying: "I said to him there is no point dwelling on ‘why has it happened to me?’ you have to be grateful that treatment is available rather than going to the appointment and being told nothing else can be done.
"[I said] focus on getting better with this change and he has.”
Following surgery, Kai will undergo a further 20 weeks of chemotherapy at the Freeman Hospital before he is fitted with a standard prosthetic leg.
But now uncle Steven has launched a £60,000 fundraising drive to pay for Kai to undergo osseointegration surgery in Sweden that would see him fitted with an ‘ultra-modern’ prosthetic leg.
Surgery involves inserting a metal implant into the bone of a residual limb, which then attaches directly to a prosthesis, eliminating socket-related issues.
Steven believes this would give Kai a greater quality of life, as this type of prosthetic would enable him to feel different surfaces as he is walking and allow him greater mobility.
So far £2,175 has been raised, with funds set to cover medical expenses, travel and other costs during the treatment which would take place in 2022.
Steven said: “People have been so generous so far...it is just amazing."
To donate visit: https://gofund.me/cfed2d2d