A brave youngster who had to have his leg amputated in his ongoing battle with bone cancer is the face of a new campaign.
Harrison Ledsham was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma tumour above his left knee just weeks after doctors had put the discomfort he was experiencing down to growing pains.
Now the courageous 11-year-old is the new face of the Bone Cancer Research Trust’s (BCRT) new awareness-raising campaign – which highlights how less than half of bone cancer patients were diagnosed by their GP between 2005-2010.
The national charity also say just one in four were diagnosed after going to A&E, meaning emergency patients were more likely to need an amputation, and had a poorer prognosis, than those who were referred via their doctor.
In conjunction with the Royal College of GPs, the trust has launched a GP training course to give doctors new information to help them spot the symptoms and refer patients like Harrison sooner.
BCRT chief executive Julie Harrington said: “Symptoms can often be mistaken for growing pains, sporting injuries or other common conditions.
“We realise doctors may only see one or two cases in their career, which is why we want to support them in early diagnosis and help patients start treatment as soon as possible.”
Harrison, of Liverpool Road, Haydock, was diagnosed several weeks after seeing his GP when he went to hospital for an X-ray and a second opinion was sought from experts in Birmingham.
After receiving the results of a biopsy, he was called in to Alder Hey to start an intensive course of chemotherapy the very next day.
Harrison, who is also taking part in a fitness-themed calendar launched by model and bone cancer survivor Elesha Turner, had surgeons in tears recently when he thanked them for all their efforts as he finally received his prosthetic leg. Tragically, his little sister, Abigail, lost her brave battle with degenerative Sandhoff’s Disease in October 2008, just days before her second birthday.
Mum Karen added: “We’ve not been the luckiest family. I know it sounds awful but we almost wish this had happened to someone else instead.”