DAVID BECKHAM AND LLOYD BURTON. PLEASE CREDIT GREGG WILLIAMS FOR THE PHOTOGRAPH
Avid Manchester United fan and cancer patient Lloyd Burton’s dream came true when he met his hero David Beckham. The pair met while filming for Stand Up To Cancer, the joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, which funds ground breaking research to bring new and kinder treatments to patients to beat cancer sooner.
“Lloyd has been so brave and we’re really proud of him. Sharing his story as part of Stand Up To Cancer is incredibly important to our whole family. If our experience can encourage and inspire others to support the vital research that this campaign funds, then something positive will have come out of it.” – Lloyd’s mother, Di
Beckham took time out of his busy schedule to meet the young fan, aged 11, whose budding football career was tragically cut short when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour (medulloblastoma) in May last year. Lloyd has undergone rigorous treatment for his cancer including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy which has left him with life-changing side effects and Lloyd now uses a wheelchair. Before his diagnosis, Lloyd had been scouted by clubs including Man United, Aston Villa, Port Vale and Shrewsbury for their junior teams.
The surprise meeting, which will be aired during Stand Up To Cancer’s TV show on Friday 17th October, shows Lloyd talking to David about their shared passion for Manchester United and what David’s been up to since retiring from his football career. David also quizzes Lloyd about any girlfriends he has at school and reveals some lessons about boys he’s teaching his little girl Harper, the youngest of the Beckham brood.
Lloyd said: “I had no idea that I was going to meet David Beckham, it was such a brilliant surprise! He was really nice and we chatted lots. He told me a bit about his family and other normal stuff and we talked about football quite a lot too. I love football and Beckham is one of my favourite players so I’ll always remember that day.”
Lloyd and his family – parents Di and David and his two older sisters Hannah and Issy – are all rallying behind the campaign.
Lloyd’s mother, Di, said: “It’s an understatement to say that these past few months have been the hardest for our family; there are days that feel impossible to get through and unfortunately we know that there will be more difficult days to come. So it was such a joy to see Lloyd when he met David – he couldn’t believe his eyes, he was so excited and for a few minutes he was speechless. The meeting with David provided Lloyd with a small respite from his every day challenges and brought a little bit of sunshine into his life. David chatted and really put Lloyd at ease, he was totally thrilled by the whole experience.
“Lloyd has been so brave and we’re really proud of him. Sharing his story as part of Stand Up To Cancer is incredibly important to our whole family. If our experience can encourage and inspire others to support the vital research that this campaign funds, then something positive will have come out of it.”
Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: “Thanks to research, today two thirds of children will survive medulloblastoma for five years or more. But unfortunately some children will experience long term side effects from the treatments used against the disease. The funds raised through Stand up to Cancer will speed up the development of more effective and kinder cancer treatments to help more people beat the disease and live a long life unaffected by side effects.”
In 2012, Stand Up To Cancer’s fundraising total exceeded £8m funding 12 clinical trials across the UK and this year’s aim is to do even better. The 2014 campaign is encouraging people to join the front line against cancer this autumn by fundraising, buying merchandise and tuning in to the live TV show on Channel 4 on Friday 17th October. The culmination of activities will see stars from TV, music, film and fashion joining forces to galvanize the nation to show cancer, that it’s payback time.
For more information about the campaign and how to fundraise, go to: www.standuptocancer.org.uk or follow Stand Up To Cancer UK on Facebook: www.facebook.com/standuptocancerUK and Twitter: https://twitter.com/StandUp2C
For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8315 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.