Cancer-affected children from across the region have participated in a football tournament at Newcastle United’s Academy, courtesy of a charity partnership.

Schools participating in the football tournament, organised by the Bobby Robson Foundation all have students dealing with health issues, including Ethan O’Neill, a 12-year-old attendee from Consett, who assisted in presenting the medals.

Ethan's mother, Lisa Jane O'Neil, expressed gratitude for the event, saying: "Ethan was diagnosed on 22 February with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the cancer spread pretty much all over."

She added: "It’s really great to have opportunities like this.

"Little things like this just uplift him."

(Image: Great North Children's Hospital)

Lisa praised the initiative for allowing Ethan to indulge in his love for football and providing an escape from the confines of the house and hospital.

"You wouldn’t normally get this opportunity, so it’s great that the charities are working together to give him these moments," Lisa said.

The collaboration between the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation funds two roles designed to support kids living with cancer and other health conditions at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.


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Spearheaded by Newcastle United Foundation, the programme provides patients with engaging activities such as indoor sports, educational opportunities, and outdoor activities when possible.

Sixteen-year-old Keisha Makin, another Great North Children's Hospital patient, also had the pleasure of presenting medals at the tournament.

Keisha shared her enjoyment: "It made a nice day out and got me out of the hospital.

"It’s nice seeing everyone have a happy time."

(Image: Great North Children's Hospital)

The project coordinator, Gareth Williams, has been dedicated to the programme since 2017.

Gareth spoke highly of the event's impact: "This project makes an enormous difference to children and their families when they need it most.

"It was great to see all the enthusiasm from the kids, like Keisha and Ethan."

He further highlighted the excitement of the children playing on professional pitches and mentioned they were discussing the event long after it had finished.

Launched in 2008, the Bobby Robson Foundation has raised over £20m to help develop more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Its work directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays an important role in the global fight against the disease.

More information is available on their website