I'm losing my leg to cancer but still dream of playing for England - Kobbie Mainoo has shown his support

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United star Kobbie Mainoo has been in touch to show Jake his support.

A talented young goalkeeper who faces losing his right leg to cancer says the diagnosis won't stop him playing - and hopes to represent England's amputee team.

Footie-mad Jake Last, 15, starred for Burnley FC under-14s but tests in March 2022 revealed Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. He had chemo, and titanium implants to replace his knee, tibia and femur, an MRI scan found the cancer had returned in his hip last October.

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Manchester United fan Jake told doctors to 'cut it off' as he's had so much trouble with it, he felt he'd be more able-bodied without it. And he's still passionate about the sport and hopes to play for the Everton and England amputee teams in the future.

Jake Last still harbours dreams of playing football for EnglandJake Last still harbours dreams of playing football for England
Jake Last still harbours dreams of playing football for England | Courtesy of Jake Last / SWNS

Dad John, 54, said: "He told the surgeon he wanted them to cut his leg off and he said they normally have to fight people to get it removed. He say he's had that much trouble with it, so he wants it gone because he will more able-bodied without it, rather than with it.

"Jake says it's a piece of meat that he's having to drag around. Football has helped him get through this, even though he knows he won't be able to play normal football again.

"We were watching the England amputees train and that was a proper eyeopener and it made Jake aware that there is a positive out of this crap situation. There's only two amputee teams around here and different coaches have been in touch. The England amputee youth coach has even been in touch to say that once he's recovered and done his physio, then he can come down and train with them."

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John, from Chadderton, says Jake started having twinges in his knee after an ankle injury in 2022, which led to him being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. After 16 weeks of chemotherapy and surgery to replace his knee, tibia and femur with titanium implants, he was finally declared cancer free in May last year.

Jake then had an MRI scan in October last year to check his progress and he was given the devastating news that the cancer had returned in his hip. John says finding out his son had cancer the first time was extra painful because Jake's sister Olivia passed away just a few hours after she was born.

Jake Last playing football before cancer. Jake Last playing football before cancer.
Jake Last playing football before cancer. | Courtesy of Jake Last / SWNS

The electrician said: "It was horrible. Jake was a miracle baby because we had a baby called Olivia before who passed away in 2007 hours after she was born. After going through that, we were just thinking 'what have we done to deserve this?'

"It was mind-numbingly hurtful, we couldn't believe it was happening to us and we were just like why us? But we thought that it's the cards that we've been dealt with so we need to get on with it and Jake has just been amazing, absolutely amazing.

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"When he got diagnosed the second time, Jake said that he's done it once so he can do it again. We had told everyone he had beat it and he had rang the bell, then we had to tell everyone it had come back. For it to come back, it was a proper kick in the teeth. It's just unbelievable though, because he's so strong."

Jake is now finishing the last of his chemotherapy and faces having his leg amputated in Birmingham, in the next couple of months. A family friend set up a Go Fund Me page when he was first diagnosed, to help support the teenager. But John and his wife Tracy, 47, hopes that the money will be able to go towards getting him a specialist prosthetic limbs for playing football.

Jake Last in hospital.Jake Last in hospital.
Jake Last in hospital. | Courtesy of Jake Last / SWNS

He added: "We are going to get an appointment with a place that manufacturer prosthetic limbs, so we can see what type he can have. But we are going to have to get Jake prosthetic limbs and if he wants to do sport, then he's going to need special ones for that.

"He will get one from the NHS but that's for going out with his mates and not for anything physical. So I was hoping the money would be used for that and I still am."

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Earlier this week, United's FA cup hero Kobbie Mainoo - a scorer in their 2-1 FA Cup Final win over Man City - sent him a video saying: "I'm sorry to hear everything you are going through. Stay strong and I hope everything goes well."

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