Teenager raises huge sum for fellow brain cancer sufferers
A YOUNG man aiming to bring "light into the darkness" for fellow brain cancer sufferers has been lifted by the support of his community, including by strangers who generously gave to the cause.
Bremer State High School senior Kieran McLeod was heartened by the backing of about 300 people who took part in the second Ipswich Walk 4 Brain Cancer at the weekend.
About 200 attended the walk last year.
The 18-year-old is back in "watch and wait" mode after scans last month showed there might still be something in his head that could be growing back.
Kieran was told in 2017 he had between two and five years left to live.
He successfully underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour in February after being diagnosed at the age of 13, which effectively wiped out that initial "expiry date".
The teenager said about $15,000 was raised from the day for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, which came close to last year's total of just over that amount.
A $5000 donation from Ipswich City Council boosted him over his target last year but Kieran said all funds this year had been raised solely by the community, which was just reward tireless efforts to get the word out.
"I cannot believe how well it went... we had an awesome turnout," Kieran said. "We had heaps of just complete strangers turn up, all expressing their own stories about brain cancer.
"It's good to know there is that feeling in the community of support."
The top donor was Melissa McLeod, who is of no relation to Kieran, who raised over $1000.
"She bought a whole team wearing personalised shirts in memory of Marie, her mum," he said.
A couple of researchers from the University of Queensland's Diamantina Institute, which receives funding from the foundation, spoke at the event.
"It's important for people to see what their money is going towards," Kieran said.
Kieran is hopeful of organising the event for the third time next year but still has to finish off Year 12. Although his thinking "changes all the time", he wants to study engineering at the University of Queensland.
He will have another scan after graduation in November. The fundraising page for the event is still open for donations.
Visit the Walk 4 Brain Cancer website here to donate.