Landmarks honour young South Shields man's bravery during bone cancer battle

A young man who had his leg amputated after being diagnosed with a rare bone cancer has been honoured for his courage with a stunning display of light.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 10:25 pm

Kai Heslop from South Shields has amazed medics and loved ones with his progress after having his leg amputated above the knee in May.

But the Horsley Hill teenager refused to be beaten by his health battle and amazed doctors when he walked with a zimmer frame just a day after surgery.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland's Northern Spire Bridge and Penshaw Monument were lit up yellow in honour of South Shields teen Kai Heslop. Images by Steven Lomas.

And now his bravery has been recognised in Sunderland, when a number of the city’s stunning landmarks were lit up yellow in his honour.

Proud uncle, Steven Lomas, 35, said: “Sunderland Council kindly lit the Northern Spire Bridge and Penshaw Monument yellow on Monday night after I spoke to them about my nephew’s battle with bone cancer and it coinciding with Sarcoma Awareness Month.

“It was very moving.

"As we were driving up we could see the bridge from the A19 as we approached Penshaw and then seeing it from the road was amazing.

Kai Heslop and girlfriend Nicole Hughes following the surgery. Photo by Steven Lomas.

"Kai loved it. He appreciates everything that people do for him so this gesture, especially with it being for Sarcoma Awareness, was particularly poignant.”

Before his diagnosis, Kai had been suffering from persistent pain in his left leg and underwent an X-Ray and MRI after developing a large lump on the side of it.

He was referred to the Freeman Hospital for a biopsy where doctors told him he had a rare bone cancer tumour.

Kai embarked on a 10-week course of chemotherapy and was told by doctors that the cancer had not spread beyond his leg but that he needed to have part of it amputated.

Penshaw Monument looked stunning as it was lit up yellow in honour of Kai Heslop. Photo by Steven Lomas.

But despite his incredible progress following the surgery, Kai is dealing with a condition called phantom limb syndrome, which sees patients experience sensations in a limb that does not exist.

However, Kai’s family hope that the condition will be improved by osseointegration surgery in Sweden to fit him with a specialised prosthetic leg.

A £60,000 fundraising drive has so far raised £8,717 towards the treatment which would take place in 2022.

Kai Heslop and girlfriend Nicole Hughes. Photo by Steven Lomas.

You can subscribe to this website and enjoy unlimited access to local news, information and puzzles online. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Simply click ‘Subscribe’ in the menu.