TOWNSEND -- When 15-year-old Philip Dwyer broke his leg Nov. 16, he had no idea what was coming.
After going to the emergency room in Ayer, Dwyer was sent to Children's Hospital Boston for tests because the break looked unusual. While there, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.
Dwyer's mother, Kathy Dantas-Dwyer, said the cancer is localized in her son's femur, making it more easily treatable. Although her son is disappointed about not being able to participate in track, and about being in the hospital an average of three days a week, he is handling it well, she said.
"He's obviously overwhelmed, but he's in really good spirits. He knows how lucky he is that it didn't spread, so he has a really good prognosis. He takes it as it comes," she said.
But while he makes his way through 29 weeks of chemotherapy treatment, which has him in and out of the hospital, support from his friends has made things easier.
The members of Boy Scout Troop 81, which Dwyer belongs to, have rallied around their friend, visiting him in the hospital and building a ramp at his home so that he can get in and out.
With the guidance of Scout leaders and fathers, the boys cut, nailed and screwed together the entire ramp so Dwyer could have an easier time getting around.
Dantas-Dwyer said that the support of his friends helped lift her son's spirits.
"He can't walk at all right now. His leg isn't weight-bearing, so there was no way to get him out of the house," his mother said in the weeks before Christmas. "It was wonderful when they built the ramp because it was the first time he went outside. His friends were pushing him around. They hung out and kept him company. It just gets him in much better spirits," she said.
Pat Belcher, an assistant with Troop 81, said when his troops heard about Dwyer's diagnosis, they immediately wanted to help.
"We went down to Children's Hospital to visit, and he mentioned that he would be in a wheelchair and a ramp was needed for the house, so we decided to take care of it. We went over to the house a few days later and built a ramp," Belcher said.
The desire for the Scouts to help out one of their own was natural, he said.
"There's a lot of camaraderie among the boys. They're like brothers and family."