Lucky break as teenage plumber’s fall reveals a rare tumour

William Binns with girlfriend Emily Coleman. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
William Binns with girlfriend Emily Coleman. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A TEENAGER cheated cancer’s claws when his rare tumour was discovered after a fall from a ladder – which led to surgeons amputating his leg.

Apprentice plumber William Binns, then 19, was replacing a water main at work when he lost his balance and took a tumble – but doctors discovered something much more sinister than a fractured ankle.

Mr Binns, now 20, from Brighouse, had X-rays at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax after the fall in the town’s market, but returned weeks later when the pain from his fracture refused to cease.

The pain turned out to be deadly Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare malignant tumour found in bones or muscles – after it showed up on a second X-ray.

Mr Binns, who last week had his leg removed, was diagnosed in March this year after doctors discovered the cancer on his fibula bone in his calf.

When doctors discovered the cancer they told him he might have to have the leg amputated as the tumour was wrapped around his nerves.

He said: “I went through physio but the pain was still there. They did X-rays to check if it was broken and missed the tumour by a centimetre or two.

“We want people to recognise the signs. We want to get people talking about cancer in young people and people need to be aware that it can happen to anyone. If it wasn’t for the accident I don’t know how long it would have taken to find it. It was just by luck that we found it.

“Everyone at the hospital was amazing and I’ve had so much support. A couple of people in there were going through the same as me and there were people who understood what I’m going through.”

William, who lives at home with mother Bev Ackroyd, 49, stepfather Michael Ackroyd, 49, and twin brothers Thomas and Daniel Binns, 22, said he is looking forward to his new prosthetic limb.

He said: “I had the operation on the 18th of this month and I was at home sitting on my sofa a week after. I’ve got to wait six weeks before my prosthetic limb is fitted. They are going to do it when the pain level stops.

“They told me when I got diagnosed that I might have to have the leg taken off and I’ve not been ‘weirded out’ by it at all. I woke up this morning and it was painful but I’m up and about and mobile.”

Despite the loss of his leg, Will says he is continuing with life.

He has had eight rounds of chemotherapy at the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. Mr Binns added: “I still have six more rounds of chemotherapy to go and some radiotherapy.

“I want to be mobile enough to drive so that I can see more of my friends and go and watch my favourite football team play.

“My mum, girlfriend Emily, my brothers and my friends and family have all been great and their support has helped me a lot.”

Mr Binns’s mother, Bev Ackroyd, said the youngster had received “unwavering support”, saying: “I am so proud of Will. He has to endure some horrible treatment and has coped amazingly with having to lose a leg, but he still has a long way to go. It is really important to raise awareness of this horrible disease so people know what to look out for.”

There are fewer than 100 cases of Ewing’s Sarcoma diagnosed in the UK and Ireland each year, mostly in teenagers.

The young plumber’s family have grouped together to form ‘Team Will’ in order to raise cash
for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Mr Binns’s girfriend, Emily Coleman, 19, said: “The whole way through it’s never been sad.

“He has always been happy and cheery. It’s amazing really. He started his physio two days after the operation. He is such a positive person.”

The charity’s manager for the Yorkshire region, Heather Bowen said: “The way that Will’s family and friends have supported him through his own journey is to be commended.”