Below his mum, Pauline, shares his story to help raise awareness.

At the beginning of May 2022, Connor was injured whilst playing football after being kicked in his right shin. We thought the pain he was suffering was down to his injury. The pain did not get any better, so I made an appointment to see the GP. We were only given a telephone appointment and the GP told me to use ibuprofen gel on Connor's leg.

His leg did not get better, so I took him to the A&E department of the local hospital on the 18th of May. We were told it was shin splits and Connor was refused an x-ray. He was told to rest and stop playing football.

It was the beginning of the summer holidays, so Connor was not going to school, and things settled down a bit. He would go out with his friends and complain about his leg hurting when he got home, and I would use the ibuprofen gel as directed by the GP.

Connor went back to school at the beginning of August. On the 18th of August he rang me in tears from school as he was in so much pain. I went to pick him up and drove him straight to A&E where I was told it was a medical emergency. We were basically told to leave.

I was so angry that on the way home I stopped at the GP surgery and demanded Connor was given an appointment. Fortunately, there was a GP at the front desk, who said he would see Connor the next day.

The GP examined Connor and felt a lump on his leg when pressing down hard. The GP thought the lump was nothing to worry about, but sent Connor for an X-ray. Fortunately, he was able to have his X-ray the next day.

The GP rang us to say they had found something on the X-ray that looked like a deep bone infection and Connor needed to be seen at the orthopaedic department of the local hospital.

On September 26th, after a four week wait, Connor saw the orthopaedic consultant who told us she was 99% sure it was nothing sinister, but that Connor should have an MRI just to be super cautious. He was given his scan within a week.

In this time Connor's leg had become swollen, and he was suffering from tiredness and weight loss.

The orthopaedic consultant phoned us to say that a surgeon at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow thought it was a bone infection too. We were sent to Glasgow for a biopsy on the 13th of October. There was a question mark about the biopsy, so it was sent to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore for a second opinion. On the 9th of November 2022, we went to see the surgeon in Glasgow and were told Connor had chondrosarcoma in his lower right leg.

This type of bone cancer is very rare in someone as young as Connor.

Within a few days Connor had a bone scan and chest X-ray, and we were told the good news that the cancer had not spread.

Limb salvage surgery was not an option for Connor as the surgeon would not be able to get sufficiently clear margins. On the 30th of November, the day after his 15th birthday, Connor had an above-the-knee amputation to his right leg. He coped with the surgery amazingly well and returned to school the week after.

Once Connor was referred to Glasgow things moved super quickly, and the care and kindness we received from the surgeon and his team in Glasgow were out of this world.

Connor was referred to the WestMARC rehabilitation centre in Glasgow before his surgery and they have been brilliant. He attends there for physiotherapy and works hard to use his prosthetic so he can cope better and keep up with his friends.

Connor is learning to adapt to a new way of life. He has joined the Amputee Football Association in Scotland and is really enjoying it. He has met a lot of amazing new people.

On the 23rd of December 2022 Connor found out he was getting a new prosthetic leg and the pathology results came back - his cancer had all gone. It was the best Christmas ever.

My advice to others is that you need to stay positive. Listen to your surgeon and get second opinions if needed. Stay strong, nothing is impossible.

It's important to keep going back to your GP. Please don't let them fob you off when there are lumps and bumps and don't be afraid to get things checked out.

Early diagnosis and awareness are key. I had never heard of chondrosarcoma before and didn't think for one minute this would be the outcome for my son.

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