Award for brave Lowestoft teenager

Mark BoggisA TEENAGER is to be honoured for his amazing courage and 'positive attitude' after securing a major martial arts accolade - while facing an even bigger fight against cancer.Mark Boggis

A TEENAGER is to be honoured for his amazing courage and 'positive attitude' after securing a major martial arts accolade - while facing an even bigger fight against cancer.

Rory Davies, 14, became one of the youngest exponents of Kuk Sool Won in this country to be rewarded with a prestigious second-degree black belt, which he secured last November.

But three months later, having been poorly for a while and suffering from headaches and sickness, the Benjamin Britten High School pupil was diagnosed with tumours in his brain and spine.

The popular Lowestoft youngster had to endure six operations in the first six weeks of his treatment and has undergone courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy but, as he recovers at home ahead of more treatment next month, he remains determined to overcome his illness.

Now, in recognition of his achievements, the Lowestoft Kuk Sool School member is set to be honoured as a VIP guest at a special Black Belt Extravaganza in Lowestoft tomorrow night.

His proud mum Lisa this week told The Journal: 'Rory was diagnosed the first week in February, and within hours he was being treated for the tumours at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

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'It was such a shock really…He is a fit young man who has been at Kuk Sool for nearly 10 years and has played football for Burnt Hill FC as well, but to go from being fit and healthy to having a nine hour brain operation and five more operations after that was not great for a 14-year-old.'

Rory, who became a black belt at the age of 10, is now home for a month, before returning to Addenbrooke's for three months' treatment and a higher dose of chemotherapy.

'Rory is such a popular boy, he has always been the daredevil in the family - and his humour and strength have been maintained despite this illness,' Mrs Davies said.

'His thoughts on the cancer and his attitude have been amazing - 'this is what I have got and I am going to fight it', he says. That is his normal way of going about things, and I think a huge part of it comes from doing almost 10 years of Kuk Sool Won, where he's learnt not to give up and to keep on going.'

Since returning home, Rory has attended his football presentation evening and last month joined team-mates from the Lowestoft Kuk Sool School at a presentation at King Lynn where they received their Black Belts from the Grandmaster. More than 1,000 spectators were present, and Rory received an emotional standing-ovation when he was awarded his second degree black belt.

For Rory, his mum Lisa, dad Andy, elder brother Jack and younger brother Max, it has been a turbulent few months - but they praised the support of family, friends, schools and the hospitals.

'Rory has been doing really well, ever since that nine hour operation, to having titanium fitted into his skull and then having a shunt fitted, he has been amazing,' Mrs Davies told The Journal.

'We now have an actual plan for Rory, which follows the Milan strategy - which has just been introduced into this country - and he will be the third child to go through this protocol.'

The plan follows a specific protocol of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, she explained.

'Rory has amazed the doctors and medical staff with his determination - so much so that he asked to have physiotherapy to build up his muscles,' Mrs Davies added. 'But I've had to tell the physios to ensure he does not overdo things as he should only be doing a couple of minutes on the exercise bike when he really wants to do at least 10 minutes - he won't let anything beat him.'

Tomorrow evening, WaterLane Sports and Leisure Centre hosts the Black Belt Extravaganza with Rory and his family as special guests, along with Mayor Nigel Dack and Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

It has been organised by Jonathan Denny, his first coach nearly 10 years ago.

All proceeds from the evening will go towards Mr Denny's wife Helen, who has volunteered to travel to Tanzania to complete project work in a local school and climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October to raise money for local children's charity Help an East Coast Child.

The club's demonstration team boasts over 100 students, from white belt to 6th Degree Black Belt Master's, who will all showcase their skills in Kuk Sool Won.

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are �5 for adults, �2.50 for under 13s, and are available on the door.