Rhys Langford, 19, read the story of six-year-old Jacob Jones, a boy from the same town who was fighting a rare cancer called neuroblastoma, and he immediately donated his life savings to him and his family
Image: Catherine Langford/SWNS)
A terminally ill teen who raised more than £60,000 for a six-year-old fellow cancer sufferer he never met, has died.
Rhys Langford, 19, had osteosarcoma, a cancer which starts in the bones.
Over time, the cancer spread to several other areas of his body.
When Rhys read the story of Jacob Jones, a boy from the same town who was fighting a rare cancer called neuroblastoma, he immediately donated £1,000 – his life savings – to the six-year-old and his family.
The worker, who worked for a water supplier, also set up an online crowd funder which has since gone viral and raised more than £60,000 for Jacob and his family.
Rhys, whose cancer left him bedridden, passed away this morning.
Jacob’s nan Dawn Jones, 65, paid tribute, saying the family was “deeply upset.”
“The love, compassion, strength and courage Rhys showed was unbelievable and he will never be forgotten,” she said.
“Because of his kindness, Jacob will have a better chance of battling with whatever he is faced with now or in the future.
“We will never be able to show how much Rhys and his family mean to us.
“We’re overwhelmed by the fundraising by Rhys and we are heartbroken. Our thoughts are with his family.”
Rhys was a talented athlete before his illness, and at 16 had become one of the youngest people in the UK to achieve a black belt in the martial art, Krav Maga, at adult grading.
He also scaled Snowdon three times and had dreamed of one day going up Ben Nevis.
The first sign of a health problem came when Rhys had a sprint race with friends, lost his balance and fell.
Catherine and her dad Paul Langford, 45, thought he had a groin strain, but Rhys was still limping eight weeks later.
He carried on working but reached a point where he was struggling to get out of the lorry.
In October 2020, after various tests, Rhys was tragically diagnosed with osteosarcoma.
Experts at Birmingham’s Royal Orthopedic Hospital found an 18cm tumor in his right hip.
Rhys had a series of blood transfusions and went through intensive chemotherapy, quickly dropping from 12st to 8th 4lbs.
After the 10 weeks of chemo Rhys stayed in the Royal Orthopedic for three weeks for an operation to remove all the bone from his kneecap to his right hip.
This would mean Rhys would always need two sticks to walk, but the family hoped it would save his life.
Up until August 2021, Rhys then underwent another 20 weeks of chemo, which they initially thought had cured his cancer and he started to get his life back.
But in October, a year after his diagnosis, Rhys’ right leg started to swell, growing three times its normal size.
Rhys spent almost a month in various hospitals being treated for sepsis in the run-up to Christmas until tragically experts found a cancerous mass in his thigh.
Although consultants in Birmingham discussed the possibility of a full amputation of the leg, they told the family on January 4 that Rhys could not be saved.
You can donate to Rhys’s fundraiser for Jacob’s by visiting the fundraising page, here .