CRUCIAL CUTS: Bremer State High School student and brain cancer survivor Kieran McLeod prepares to cut off the hair of teacher Elizabeth Ricketts to raise money for Beanies for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
CRUCIAL CUTS: Bremer State High School student and brain cancer survivor Kieran McLeod prepares to cut off the hair of teacher Elizabeth Ricketts to raise money for Beanies for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. Rob Williams

Brain tumour removed but teenager's fight still goes on

EVEN as he edged towards his own "expiry date", teenager Kieran McLeod took each day with a smile and a big dollop of what he refers to as 'tumour humour'.

The Bremer State High School student was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was 13 and was told in 2017 he had between two and five years left to live. After having surgery in Sydney to remove the tumour earlier this year, the script was flipped.

"We had it removed in Sydney and it came back as grade one. It's all gone now hopefully so my expiry date has been lifted quite significantly hopefully into well old age," he said.

"Throughout the whole five years living with it, I tried to deal with it by making jokes and making light of the whole situation has always been my thing."

Grade one tumours are slow growing and unlikely to spread to other parts of the brain.

The 17-year-old said after returning home following a week in hospital, he hopped out of the shower feeling 'clean' for the first time in five years.

He has returned to Bremer in 2019 for a second shot at his senior year and aims to graduate when he completes chemistry, physics, maths C and English.

"Cancer is a funny thing because it is literally a part of you and even after they take it out it will always be there somewhere in your mind," he said.

The teenager will continue having MRI scans for the foreseeable future.

It hasn't changed his mission to raise awareness about the disease and funds for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

Last year, he organised the inaugural Ipswich Walk 4 Brain Cancer event which raised $15,000 and he wants to match that figure in September.

He was named the foundation's first official ambassador and he was selected as Ipswich's Young Citizen of the Year at the 2019 Australia Day Awards.

Kieran said it means a lot when people come together to unit on the issue, just like at Bremer's Beanies for Brain Cancer fundraiser on Friday.

The day was centred on raising awareness and money for the foundation with students encouraged to wear beanies to display their support.

He cut the hair of his teacher Elizabeth Ricketts, who then donated her locks to Variety, an organisation that makes wigs for kids in chemotherapy.

"When I was first diagnosed I was under the impression it was just incredibly rare and I was one in a million," Kieran said.

"It's not. Survival rates haven't improved in 30 years."