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Young Citizen of the Year optimistic for future despite brain tumour

Kathy McLeod with son Kieran at Queens Park Cafe        

Kieran McLeod isn’t your average year 12 student. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2014

Despite this life-threatening setback, he remains extremely optimistic about his future.

In the past 12 months he organised the first Walk for Brain Cancer fundraiser in Ipswich and attended a sitting of state parliament.

Kieran was vice-captain at Bremer State High School in 2018 and last week was awarded Young Citizen of the Year at the 2019 Ipswich Australia Day Awards held at North Ipswich Reserve Corporate Centre.

Prior to attending the awards he had no idea his Auntie put in the nomination. 

“When my name was called as the Young Citizen of the Year it felt really good.

“I didn’t expect to win. I thought it might have been one of the other nominees.”

He said the award gave him the opportunity to raise awareness of the disease and the charity.

“When given the chance to speak at the awards I thanked everyone and mentioned the fund raising page is still open and accepting donations for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and Walk for Brain Cancer.”

Kieran McLeod was first diagnosed with the tumour at age 14.

“It was the beginning of term four in year eight. I woke up one morning with a really bad headache,” he said.

“I left like my brain was being pressed against my skull and essentially it was.

“Then I was off school in pain.”

After a visit to the doctor Kieran was sent for an MRI the next day at Mater Children’s Hospital.

“It was stable for three or four years then in 2017 it started to grow.

“Last year I underwent about eight months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation followed by more chemo.

“I started the school year trying to do all six subjects but ended up splitting year 12 into two years.”

This year the Bremer High student said he was hoping to be at school full-time but it would depend on future visits to the doctors and specialists.

Following participation in the Brisbane Brain Cancer Walk in 2017 Kieran decided to hold one in Ipswich.

“We had a little over 200 people show up and managed to get over $15,000 raised.

“It is still going up and I’d like to do another charity walk this year around August.”

In 2018 Kieran McLeod received an invitation to visit state parliament from local member Jennifer Howard.

“We sat in the public gallery on a sitting day and then had dinner.

“We met a lot of politicians and talked to them about brain cancer.”

Looking to the future Kieran said when he completed year 12 career options might include medicine, performing, politics and biomedical engineering.

Kathy McLeod, Kieran’s mum, said her son always tought more about other people than himself.

“When first diagnosed he said to me he was glad it happened to him and not his other siblings,” she said.

“I said to him don’t say that.

“It (being diagnosed) was the whole reason he want to do the charity walk,” Kathy McLeod said.

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