AN inspirational teen from Midleton who is battling a cancer diagnosis it was initially thought he had beaten will see the whole community rally behind him this weekend in a unique fundraising event.
Kacper Kozlwski from Midleton is approaching his fifth surgery since being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2020. Kacper was just 12 at the time. It was believed that the local underage hurler had sustained an injury from his scooter until a biopsy revealed otherwise.
Kacper had the honour of ringing the bell at Crumlin Hospital, a warm tradition marking the end of a child's chemotherapy sessions, 14 months later. However, his victory was short-lived after it was discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs. Despite all these obstacles, both Kacper's family and his community refuse to give up hope.
This Saturday will see the second-year pupil meet some of his many supporters in an event to raise vital funds for his family and cancer treatments.
Local fundraising veteran Mark O'Sullivan (aka Fanta) will don a full fireman outfit weighing more than 35 lbs for a 27km walk from Youghal to Midleton in aid of the Ultimate Walk Challenge for Kacper. Those who wish to support the family are invited to walk with Fanta who will be accompanied by Dots Tobin and DJ Tommy Coppinger. The route will cover Youghal, Killeagh, Midleton and Castlemartyr before finishing at Midleton GAA Club.
Kacper's father Marcin said their experiences would have been very lonely without the support of the community.
"When Kacper rang the bell in Crumlin Hospital it felt like the end but that wasn't meant to be for us,” he said.
The parents also praised Midleton CBS where Kacper attends as a second-year student.
"We know we can speak to the principal and teachers and they will help us come up with a solution to any problem we're having.”
Marcin said they are just one of many families suffering as a result of cancer.
"We are seeing lots of children in oncology. Every hour of every day there is always filled with children.” Kacper, who has a 10-year-sister named Sofia, said he enjoys activities like gaming to take his mind off the challenges of his illness.
"When you are playing a game you are focusing on what's happening there and then and not worrying about anything outside of that.”
Kacper’s classmates also play a huge role in lifting his spirits.
Speaking about his illness and upcoming surgery he said: "I just don't think about treatment and always believe that this is going to end soon."
Mark O'Sullivan (aka Fanta) who is heading this Saturday's event said that meeting Kacper has made him even more determined to raise as much funds as possible for the family.
“People say that Kacper is a warrior and he's tough,” Mark said. “I know I'm going to find the event easier after seeing how brave he is."
The Ultimate Walk Challenge for Kacper will leave from Perks in Youghal at 9am this Saturday. Those attending are asked to sport Hi-Vis jackets. For more information contact Fanta on 086-3963263 or Dots on 087-7786370. To donate to the GoFundMe page visit this link.