TEENAGER Luke Dickety was one of the first youngsters to have surgery at Oxford Children’s Hospital back in 2007.

Now he is preparing for the OX5 Run to say thank you to the staff who saved his life.

And the 17-year-old, from Fair Close, Bicester, is hoping to finish the five-mile course around Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on Sunday, March 25, in a faster time than the 47 minutes he posted last year.

Luke’s performance in the OX5 Run impressed hospital staff because the Cooper School sixth- former suffered a life-threatening tumour behind his eye when he was eight years old.

He has received regular treatment ever since, and said: “The run is a great way of raising funds to buy new equipment for the hospital and young patients like me really benefit.

“There are lots of new facilities for kids including computers and that means you can send emails and stay in touch with your friends and talk about what’s important to you.

“Just because you are in hospital it doesn’t mean you have to be separated from your friends.”

Luke’s mum, Carol MacKay, 44, who has also signed up for the OX5 Run, works as a communications officer for Oxfordshire Fire Service.

She said: “He has had a total of nine operations and still attends regular clinics at the hospital.

“We have a great deal to be grateful for and there is no doubt in my mind that staff at the hospital have saved Luke’s life.”

Last year, Luke presented the Oxfordshire fireman Gary Crone with the winner’s trophy after he finished first in a time of 28 minutes and 18 seconds.

The race is organised by the Oxford Mail and has a number of sponsors, including Oxford-based recruitment firm Allen Associates.

* For further information visit ox5run.co.uk