While many teenagers their age will be preoccupied with impending GCSEs or summer plans, two friends Charlie Buckley and Kieran Owen are busy supporting their close friend through life-saving cancer treatment.
Barney Price, from Liskeard, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer two months ago after experiencing symptoms including loss of appetite and nausea. Charlie said: “At first it was a loss of appetite, he wasn’t eating and was throwing up a bit, then he was taken to the doctor for blood tests. It’s not what you expect.
“At the time it took a bit of time to sink in but I’m starting to get used to it now, it’s a bit more normal, everyone knows that. It was hard but you have to face it and be strong.
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Kieran said: “I was in maths class and he got really sick and I thought it was going to be a cold or something. He didn’t say anything for a while and then I was in the car with my parents and I got a text – it really hit me.
The boys have been able to see Barney each week when he is not commuting between hospitals in Bristol and Derriford for his second round of chemo. However, due to the risk of infection, Barney is housebound.
To help keep her entertained indoors, a small charity named Molly Olly’s Wishes donated an Xbox to her. Mandy, Charlie’s mum, said: ‘Barney came home from hospital the other day and had a brand new Xbox and monitor on his doorstep – he was so shocked.
Seeing the impact this had, the boys were inspired to organize a ten mile sponsored walk from Harlyn Bay in Newquay to Bedruthan Steps in Padstow to raise money for the charity Molly Olly’s Wishes and Young Lives vs Cancer. Overnight, the boys’ goal of £500 was reached and they are now approaching the £5,000 mark.
The Just Giving page says: “You hear about cancer on TV and social media, but you never expect it to happen to someone so close, especially at our age. It all happened so fast, one minute Barney (15) is this lively, energetic person, the next he’s undergoing chemotherapy and treatment to save his life from a rare form of liver cancer.
“Barney loves his rugby and his football, most of his week is devoted to sport. He is always messing around and joking and laughing at almost everything.
Barney’s football team will also join the sponsored walk, with numbers growing to around 30-40 people. Charlie and Kieran said they saw Barney’s mood improve since organizing the fundraiser, showing him how many people were there to support him.
Kieran said: “I wake up in the morning and wish I could do more. Charlie and I saw him yesterday to watch the England game and he loves it, he didn’t expect so much support, he’s definitely been animated since the first time we saw him.
“He was really happy when he saw us doing it and then when we smashed the target he was really happy and proud of us. We can’t do much but it shows we’re doing something for him, it’s our way of trying to help,” Charlie added.
“I just want to do whatever I can to help, it’s just a little too close to home really,” Mandy said.
The page received an overwhelming number of responses from people around the world, including many anonymous donations. Mandy says one of her favorite comments was made by their local bus driver who joked that Barney is a popular boy who always plays his music too loud.
Principal of the boys’ school, Mr Lingard, said: “At Liskeard, we often talk to pupils about the importance of having courage, resilience and kindness. We believe that by adopting these attitudes, you can make life better for yourself and for others.
“Kieran and Charlie showed them in abundance. Not only do they challenge each other to raise money for two great causes, but they show true friendship to a very special, resilient, and brave friend in Barney. We are extremely proud of them three.
You can read more about the boys’ fundraiser here. The march will take place on July 30.
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