Young cancer patients enjoy day of fun with Newcastle United and Sir Bobby Robson Foundations
For the last four years, two charities have been working together in a very special partnership to improve the lives of children living with cancer in the North East and Cumbria.
The children’s support project, funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and delivered by Newcastle United Foundation, makes a huge difference to young cancer patients from across the region who come to the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle for specialist treatment.
To mark the partnership’s anniversary, a celebratory football coaching session for youngsters helped by the project was held at Newcastle United’s Academy.
A dozen former and current young patients receiving care and support were invited to enjoy an exclusive session delivered by Newcastle United Foundation coaches.
Joined by their siblings on the pitch and watched by family members and friends, the young group met with Lady Elsie and her son, Andrew Robson, and safely took part in a non-contact skill-based football session at the Academy based in Little Benton.
Since 2017, the official charity arm of Newcastle United has been working alongside the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to provide recreational activities, indoor sports games and educational opportunities for young people receiving care on the Great North Children’s Hospital’s (GNCH) paediatric oncology wards.
Staff provide respite for patients throughout their treatment process – encouraging them to play, laugh, learn and stay active alongside their siblings and family members, keeping the youngsters engaged and helping them retain and grow in self-confidence.
The special football coaching event for children and young teenagers in contact with Newcastle United Foundation staff recognised their individual journeys in the four years since the charity partnership began.
Newcastle United Foundation GNCH Project Coordinator, Gareth Williams, said: “It’s hard to believe we’ve been meeting and helping young people and their families at GNCH for four years now with the incredible support of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
“It makes perfect sense for our charities to work together building on the intrinsic links between Sir Bobby, his legacy and Newcastle United, but our project work also pushes forward Sir Bobby’s wishes to provide care and comfort for those living with cancer.
“We all know that cancer does not discriminate and sadly, children and teenagers also face life-changing diagnoses and exhausting treatments despite their young age.
“But the participants we work with are incredibly resilient and it is our pleasure to be celebrating on the pitch with them and having fun outdoors together to recognise the last four years of our work – seeing them smiling and enjoying themselves is what it’s all about for us.”
Lady Elsie said: “What an absolute delight it was watching this training session. My son, Andrew, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
“These are children who have been through an awful lot in their short lives and, of course, many are still receiving treatment. For a little while they were able to forget all about cancer and just enjoy themselves playing football alongside their siblings.
“That’s really what this wonderful partnership is all about. Offering these young patients and their families additional support and something different and positive to focus on as they face cancer.”
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