HE is a brave and determined teenager who has shown that personal adversity should not stand in the way of achieving your potential.
Those are the words of admiration for 16-year-old Theo Hornsey, who has been nominated for Inspiration of the Year in this year’s Youth Awards.
Earlier this year Theo ran the Coastal Half Marathon – having trained for just three weeks – and came second in the under-20s category.
He raised more than £800 for Cancer Research UK.
His accomplishment comes after a year from hell for him and his family.
A seemingly innocuous tennis injury developed into debilitating back pain for the Portsmouth Grammar School student.
Doctors suspected a twisted spine or fracture of a vertebra, but an MRI scan revealed a spinal tumour.
Theo needed immediate excision of the tumour and spinal reconstruction. He was informed that paralysis was something he might still face.
His mum Kirsty Hornsey, from Southsea, said: ‘How Theo managed to go to school, sit his mock GCSEs, complete his coursework and continue with his musical and sailing commitments remains a mystery.
‘On reflection, it is probably not an exaggeration to suggest that anybody would have baulked at the diagnosis and prognosis. Theo refused to be daunted.
‘He determined from the outset that whatever he had to go through was a “blip” and he would get through it.
‘His brief stay on the Piam Brown paediatric oncology ward served to reinforce his determination.
‘He was resolute that whatever he was going through, it was nothing in comparison to some of the youngsters he had met on the ward. He refused to demonstrate anything other than optimism.’
Theo underwent a nine-hour operation and is now making a good recovery.
There are just two weeks left to nominate. Liz Parker, awards organiser, said: ‘If you know of a child or teenager with an amazing story, please nominate them without delay.’
The deadline is April 22. To request a nomination form e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9262 2206.