'Stay strong': West Ham footballers send messages to fan with cancer
- Credit: Billy Cox
Celebrities are supporting a young Harold Hill football player who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer.
Brentwood United player Brad Jackson received messages from actors and West Ham United players, with his teammates raising over £15,000.
The 23-year-old was diagnosed with lymphoma - which affects the immune system - earlier this month after feeling unwell during football practice.
His friends secretly launched a fundraiser to "support him being off work and to aid his treatment and aftercare"; donations have poured in alongside messages of support.
Brad told this paper: “The GoFundMe was online for three hours before I even knew about it - it was only when someone tagged me in a post that I saw it.
“Me and the boys have known each other for a long time, and I’ve got a really good support system around me.
"I’m just trying to stay positive.”
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Teammate Billy Cox added: “It’s gone from zero to 100 in the last month.
“The way people have got together around him is unbelievable, we just didn’t expect it.”
The friends set up the fundraiser with a goal of raising £3,000, but within two days the friends had raised £12,000.
Billy said: “We are overwhelmed by how many people have donated, the support Brad has got is crazy.”
The men also added hundreds of people to a WhatsApp group, where people could send Brad messages of encouragement.
Celebrities including West Ham United player Mark Noble and Love Island’s Ellie Brown added their support.
In a video message, Mark said: "Stay strong my son, we're all with you - me and all the West Ham boys.
"Love you, and keep on smiling my mate."
Teammate Declan Rice added: "People like you pushing us on is the reason why we had such a good year."
Harold Hill-based Brad began to feel unwell during football training at the end of May, and was admitted to Queen’s Hospital for two weeks before getting the diagnosis on Friday, June 4.
“When I was in hospital it was awful, I was feeling quite rough but I’ve been feeling a bit better since I’ve been out,” he added.
The roofer has played for Brentwood United for five years, and is disappointed to put his favourite sport on hold during treatment.
“I’ll just try and enjoy the good weather and get some sun,” Brad added.