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19 July 2017

ALF helps Conall get back in the saddle

Article by Greg Fidgeon

A BOY struck by a rare bone cancer has fulfilled his dreams of cycling again thanks to the Aaron Lewis Foundation.

And in a double celebration, nine-year-old Conall Riley has also been officially declared as being in remission by his doctors.

In the last 18 months he has had 14 rounds of chemotherapy and had his right leg amputated below the knee due to the effects of Ewings Sarcoma.

The brave lad, from Westcliff, attended the ALF 10s event earlier this month and was presented with a hand cycle to help get him around.

His mum Cara said: “Conall always loved cycling and rugby and played for Southend. He had been limping for a couple of weeks and when we took him for an x-ray – that’s when they found the tumour.

“This last year and a half has been a rollercoaster of emotions. You just don’t see an end to it and is just one treatment after the next.

“Helen and Barry [Aaron’s parents] offered us assistance but at the time he was too ill to do anything.

“But this hand cycle means so, so much. Conall has dreamed of this for a very long time.”

Conall tried out his new cycle straight away at the ALF 10s – and has enjoyed it every day since.

Cara – who also has 11-year-old Finn and four-year-old Caireann with husband Jim – added: “The first day he had it, he did 13 miles. He goes to school on it every day and comes home on it every day. On a Saturday he goes to Garons to see his friends and goes around the athletics track on it, and on Sundays he goes out with his dad on it. He loves it.

“Thank you to everybody in the ALF who contributed to it and for supporting families like us.”

Conall, who attends Earls Hall Primary School, also became the first child to ring the new “end of treatment bell” at Southend Hospital’s Neptune Ward.

Dad Jim said: “Neptune is amazing; there is a real feeling of community and love here. We were included in everything and Conall was treated as an individual, not just as a patient.”

Cara added: “It has been a life-changing experience and the ringing of this bell hopefully signifies an end to it.”

The family are now raising money to adapt their home to make life easier for Conall. For more details and updates on Conall’s progress, visit www.facebook.com/conallsrainbowarmy