A long hard run back to health

Kate, Joanne, 8, and Oran Kenyon, 17.
Kate, Joanne, 8, and Oran Kenyon, 17.
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Oran Kenyon has undergone the most difficult year of his life.

Cassie Melluish talks to him and his amazing family

At just 17 years old, college student Oran Kenyon has got his life planned out.

With the support of his incredible family, Oran, a self-confessed techno-geek, has dreams to start a career in the digital world. Beyond his witty personality and inspiring determination there is little indication that Oran and his family have just battled through their toughest year yet, after the teenager was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma just a year ago.

In January 2013, Oran visited his GP after suffering from severe back pain. Shortly afterwards, after undergoing tests, he and his family received the shocking news that he had primary bone cancer.

Oran under went an intense treatment programme on Weston Park Hospital’s dedicated teenage unit, benefiting from the specialised environment and provisions made there for young cancer patients.

The unit, which treats teenagers and young adults aged 16-25, receives support from Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to help the patients through their cancer journey, and to make the surroundings feel like a home-from-home.

Despite his distressing diagnosis and treatment, Oran, from Doncaster, managed to successfully pass 11 GSCE exams and continue his education by enrolling for college.

Next month, to help raise vital funds for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, Oran’s mum, Joanne, and younger sister, Kate,eight, have signed up to the charity’s annual 10k race and 3k fun run.

The popular “Run in the Park” event, sponsored by law firm Irwin Mitchell, will welcome participants of all abilities to Graves Park in Sheffield on Sunday July 13 to compete in the 10k race or 3k family fun run.

Joanne, who also ran the Great Yorkshire Run last year in support of the Cancer Charity, said: “Nothing can prepare you for the devastating news that your child has cancer and there is no pain greater than watching you own child suffer.

“Without the incredible care and support from the staff at Weston Park Hospital, I doubt that Oran would have battled through this year in the same positive way.”

In January, Oran underwent complex surgery to remove part of his pelvis, meaning that he will be unable to walk for a year and is now in a wheelchair.

“We all take the ability to walk for granted and seeing Oran in a wheelchair has motivated me more than ever to complete the 3k fun run alongside Kate,” says Jo.

“Hopefully next year Oran will be well enough to join the run himself.”

Despite his recent surgery and further chemotherapy treatments still to come, Oran has been proactive in supporting the work of the charity.

“It’s definitely been a tough year.” said Oran, “But anything I can do to help raise awareness of Weston Park Hospital and the charity then of course I will. From day one, the staff at the hospital, and particularly on the teenage unit, have been so supportive and caring that I just want to give something back to say a huge thank you.”

Joanne, who admits that she is by no means an accomplished runner, has vowed to complete the 3k fun run alongside Kate, who is determined to finish ahead of her mum.

Helen Gentle, fundraising manager said: “It’s fantastic that despite having such a difficult year, Oran’s mum and sister are supporting the charity by taking part in Run in the Park.

“Oran has been such a fantastic spokesperson for us and it’s very humbling to see that despite the pain and a very turbulent year, he and his family are dedicated to helping others in whatever way they can.

“This year, in celebration of 20 years fighting cancer locally, we hope that Run in the Park will be even bigger and better than ever, so that we are able to continue funding vital projects for the hospital for many more years to come.”

To encourage signups for the event, the Cancer Charity has released a quirky video clip featuring patients and staff from the hospital nominating the people of the region to participate.

View the video at www.wphcc.org.uk/nominate.

To sign up for Run in the Park visit www.runinthepark.org.uk or ring the Cancer Charity office on 0114 226 5370.