Donated bone helps Byford teenager overcome the after-effects of cancer

Donated bone helps Byford teenager overcome the after-effects of cancer

WHEN Angus Hollington was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2014, his mother Tracy feared her son’s active lifestyle was over.

She watched as her son, a keen BMX rider and footballer, was confined to crutches after doctors discovered a bone tumour in his tibia.

The Byford teen underwent six rounds of fortnightly chemotherapy as an in-patient at Princess Margaret Hospital, and a further 12 rounds of fortnightly chemo before he entered remission in April 2015.

Mrs Hollington assumed her son’s life would be drastically altered, before the doctor suggested they removed one third of his tibia and replace it with a donor bone. She said she was surprised to discover bone donations existed and the doctor told her it was Angus’ best option moving forward.

“A prosthetic isn’t a lifelong option, whereas a donor bone is. Unless there’s a break to the bone or something wrong with the structure, it will remain in place for the rest of his life, whereas a prosthetic is likely to require replacing at some point,” Mrs Hollington said.

“It’s the one which will cause the least amount of problems for him, because it just naturally becomes part of his body, a structure his own bone tissue will grow through.”

Mrs Hollington said the donated bone had enabled her son to continue living his life as he had before the cancer.

“He’s physically capable of being able to do all the normal things he could have done before he had cancer, he used to engage in BMX racing and football, which he will now continue to do,” she said.

“It could have been an option he might have otherwise lost his leg or at the very least had a prosthetic implant, which would have meant he’d face surgeries throughout his life.”

The donated bone came to Angus from Plus Life, who have just opened $10 million laboratory and research facility in Midland and Mrs Hollington said it was important to realise the impact bone donation could have on others.

“Bone and tissue donation isn’t life-saving, but it is life-changing,” she said.