A BUDDING young Hereford actor has had to bow out of the festive panto season after being diagnosed with cancer in both legs.

Frank Cleal, 12, initially blamed the pain in his right leg on a rugby injury. He was given exercises for a pulled hamstring in February, but returned to the GP in June when the pain and limping worsened.

Mum Emma Cleal said: “Frank was worried he wouldn’t be able to audition for the pantomime because of his leg. He really loves performing, and the panto is the highlight of the year."

The GP sent Frank for an X-ray after noticing that one of his legs was bigger than the other.

The X-ray showed a mass in Frank’s leg and an MRI confirmed osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“We sat Frank down and told him and his brother, Stan (13) together. There were a few tears and hugs, but he was really brave,” said Emma.

Frank began chemotherapy at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in July, but after two and a half rounds of chemotherapy, a scan showed that the treatment wasn’t working. The cancer had spread to Frank’s other leg, and he also had nodules in his lungs.

Frank is now facing surgery in December to remove the cancer from his right leg and insert a metal implant which will 'grow' with him, to replace his lower femur and upper tibia. He will have the same operation on the other leg after Christmas, while further surgery may be needed on his lungs.

The Courtyard Theatre has also been wonderful," Emma said.

"They have invited Frank down to watch the panto dress rehearsals and he has recorded voice-overs for some of the announcements, so he can feel involved.”

Because of the courage he has shown in facing his diagnoses, Frank has been nominated for the Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Star Awards.

Emma said: “As soon as I heard about the awards, I put Frank forward. All parents think their child is something special but Frank honestly will change the world.

"He sees his future in acting and dreams of creating a Jim Carey/James Bond character on the big screen.”

The Star Awards are open to all under-18s who currently have cancer or have been treated for the disease in the last five years.

To nominate a child for an award, visit cruk.org/childrenandyoungpeople