Teenager loses leg to MRSA

COURAGEOUS teenager Jay Magill has battled a rare form of cancer and supported his mum through her fight with the disease - but now he is facing a new challenge.

COURAGEOUS teenager Jay Magill has battled a rare form of cancer and supported his mum through her fight with the disease - but now he is facing a new challenge.

The 16-year-old, of Wallers Grove, Ipswich had his left leg amputated in January after contracting the infection staphylococcus coagulase negative, a strain of MRSA.

When Jay was 13 years old he was diagnosed with bone cancer, osteosarcoma in his left leg.

After removing the tumours and affected bone, doctors replaced 80 per cent of his leg with a new growing prosthesis.

The treatment was revolutionary; Jay was just the sixth recipient of the mechanical metal framework design, with its own gear box, in the country.

But it had its drawbacks. Jay was unable to extend his leg fully, it seized up frequently and he underwent a total of 17 operations in three years.

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In March last year the Chantry teenager noticed a large blister had formed along his scar on his left thigh.

He was diagnosed with a form of the superbug infection MRSA, although it is not known how he contracted it.

An intravenous line was inserted into his arm and for the next ten months he faced a limited life, dictated by his doses of strong medication.

In May last year, in an attempt to eradicate the infection doctors at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore performed a medical washout, cleaning the metal work in his leg.

But by December it became clear the treatment plan was failing and Jay faced a difficult decision.

To replace the metal framework in his leg and risk further complications or amputate his leg at the thigh.

Brave Jay said when faced with the decision, he just wanted to get on with his life.

He said: “Too much of my life has already been taken up by this. They couldn't guarantee the new metal work would work a second time round.

“It is better now, I have a better quality of life, when I had the infection my life was limited.

“The pain was irritable and having to have the drugs was inconvenient.

“Whereas you could bend your leg about 110 degrees I went from having 90 degree movement to just 30 degrees. I struggled with most things, getting in and out of the car for example.”

Following the surgery to amputate his leg, Jay was fitted with a prosthetic leg which mum Davina said has taken some getting used to.

She said: “It weighs a stone, and he is taking a while to get used to it. He has done so well, I can't believe how well he has adapted and he moves around great.”

With the majority of his treatment now behind him, the teenager who is in remission from cancer says he is looking forward to getting on with life.

He added: “I feel fine at the moment, “It is a nice feeling to have it behind me. I haven't got any real plans as yet, but I already have a better quality of life.”

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AFTER years battling cancer Jay's mum Davina said the family now have a new fight on their hands.

Ipswich Borough Council has told the 39-year-old they are planning to move her family from the home they have lived in for the last 22 years.

They say the Magill's must move to a house where Jay can live on one level.

But Mrs Magill said most houses in Chantry have upstairs bathrooms, whereas their current home has the bathroom downstairs.

Instead of modifying another house she wants the council to consider building a small downstairs bedroom extension on a patch of land at the side of the end terrace.

She said the stress of moving away from the area, where everyone knows her family history and supports her son, would be too much.

“We don't want to move. Moving is very stressful and with my illness and Jay's it is more than we need,” she said.

“Jay has a great group of mates in the area, they have supported him through everything, he still gets out and plays football with them all on his crutches.

“I don't want him to have to move somewhere where people don't know what has happened; he doesn't need people asking question after question.”

Davina Magill was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in August 2001.

After a long spell of ill health the mum-of-three discovered she had the rare form of blood cancer after doctors carried out routine tests when a lip piercing Mrs Magill had would not stop bleeding.

The 39-year-old had put the bleeding down to the tablets she had been taking for her heart disease, which thins the blood.

Since she was 16 she has faced several health scares, requiring major heart surgery, treatment for osteoarthritis, and chemotherapy.

Mrs Magill is still undergoing treatment of oral chemotherapy in her battle to beat the disease.

She said: “I started a new drug last year and so far so good, I am still in remission.”