Team Kieran's Fund is a Special Named Fund at CCLG raising money for research into rare forms of lymphoma. Kieran was 12 years old when in August 2019 he was diagnosed with a rare subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Kieran's mum Anita shares his story…
In early August 2019 Kieran was really looking forward to the summer holidays, but he soon started to feel unwell. He went off his food, not eating as much, and was really tired. It was initially put down to the really hot weather we were having, but he just didn’t seem himself. We took him to the doctors and they suggested getting a blood test done if he was not feeling any better the following week.
We went away for a couple of days, and during this time he was physically sick, and he was again when we got back home. This wasn’t like him at all, so I took him back to the doctors. He then had the blood test and was called into the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
Within hours, we were in an ambulance on our way to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, not really knowing what was going on. After a couple of weeks in hospital and a number of tests, we found we were facing childhood cancer. Kieran was diagnosed on 22 August with a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Our lives were suddenly turned upside down, and we didn't know what the future held. Kieran had around six months of very aggressive, intense chemotherapy with horrible side effects. This meant that he spent most of his time in hospital and missed out on lots of normal children’s activities, fun and school.
Kieran has a twin brother, too. It was tough for Lewis and I had to be there for him as well. It was really difficult, but at the time, we all just dealt with it each step at a time and tried to get through it. Because it was so quick and full-on, we never got to process it properly. I think what got Kieran through his treatment was that we had this regime, we knew roughly when it was going to end.
His last treatment was in January 2020, just before he became a teenager in February. But it was after that hit the hardest, being locked down. He’d been gradually getting back into school, but was only back for one full week before we got locked down, a week earlier than most.
Kieran struggled a bit with this, he just wanted to get back to being a normal lad. He had things planned and booked to do. He wanted to catch up on things that he’d missed out on and see his friends. He’s into motorsports, and that’s been difficult, not being able to go because spectators aren’t allowed. He’d been booked to go for a weekend seeing touring cars with his dad, David, but that got cancelled. He just wants to get back to what he loves doing.
Lockdown also meant he was having to do schoolwork from home, without having the normal teaching support. He hadn’t been to school in around eight months, so it was another challenge. But he’s tough and a clever boy, so he got through it. Luckily, he picked things up quite quickly. He’s back at school now, and enjoying being back with his friends.
COVID also affected his follow-up appointments at first, because we couldn’t go in and have a face-to-face. The consultant rang us every month to check on how things were going, which was quite nice to just to have that support. The hardest thing was to suddenly not be in hospital, without nurses and doctors around you. It felt a bit like we were out on a limb. He got his first face-to-face appointment in July, which I was very relieved about.
It’s been an incredibly tough and challenging journey. But Kieran, the caring and selfless boy he is, has wanted to help others for a long time. All through his treatment he said he would like to raise money for the people and charities that have been there to support our family. If he could do anything to help any other child, then he’d do it. As soon as he was able, he took on a huge charity bike ride, raising money for various causes close to our hearts. Now, he wants to be able to try and make a difference for other children going through the same journey. He wants them to have a better experience than he did, to help them have less intense treatment with fewer side effects, and to make them happier during their treatment.
We’ve been fundraising for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) by selling pin badges and hopefully more people will want to get involved with fundraising through Team Kieran’s Fund. The money will go to the fund, which the charity will put towards research. The research will hopefully find less invasive and intense chemotherapy, with fewer side effects, for lymphoma, especially rare forms of lymphoma. If you can spare even a few pounds, please, please donate. Every penny helps, so we can improve the quality of life for other children and their families on their cancer journeys.
Make a donation to Team Kieran's Fund
Open an online fundraising page for Team Kieran's Fund
Set up a regular Direct Debit donation to Team Kieran's Fund
Text CCLG 5 TEAM KIERAN to 70300 to donate £5.
CCLG will receive 100% of your donation. You may also be charged for one text message at your network’s standard or charity rate.
You can make a donation or pay in funds raised by cheque, payable to CCLG, to CCLG, Century House, 24 De Montfort Street, Leicester LE1 7GB. Please ensure you make it clear that the donation is for Team Kieran's Fund so that your donation is allocated to the correct fund.