Rival football fans put differences aside to raise more than £8,000 for Hornchurch three-year-old with rare cancer
PUBLISHED: 12:06 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:43 28 August 2018
Rival football fans from Newcastle, Sunderland, Millwall and West Ham put their sporting differences aside and to raise more than £8,000 for three-year-old Isla Caton who has a rare form of cancer.
Fans from the North East travelled nearly 300 miles to take part in a charity match at Aveley FC on Sunday (August 26) which ended in a dramatic 4-4 draw.
Eight Milwall and West Ham fans joined forces to form one team, and eight Newcastle and eight Sunderland fans did the same to make two squads of 16.
Dean Robson from Team North was the man of the match with a hat-trick - including a last minute penalty that saved the day - while highlights for Team South included a brace for Kurtis Smitha nd a goal for Ben Short.
Mike Groom also got on the score-sheet for Team North.
Players for Team North included: Gaz Horsley, David Bygate-Pittiglio, Mark Harrison, Stewart Jardine, Jamie Horsley, Graeme Close, Dylan Parry, Jamie Ferguson, Dean Robson, Richard Adamson, Ryan McDade, Michael Groom, Stu Cooper, Philip Avery, Chris Gaskin and Kenny Ashton.
The Team South side included: Dylan Bregman, Jamie Pearce, Peter Levett, Steve Biondini, Tom Bregman, Frankie Mayne, Kurtis Smith, Dillon Cole, Adam Hickey, Frankie Barbieri, Anthony Hufton, Peter Millington-Lee, Jack Costello, Ben Short, Mitchell Lucas and Danny Missen.
Gaz Horsley, who is a taxi driver for Walker Taxis in Newcastle, organised the charity match and first heard about Isla after raising £7,000 for the Bradley Lowery Foundation, and the money was donated to Isla.
Isla, from Hornchurch, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in March last year, and after nearly 18 months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, her parents were hoping to get the all clear a few weeks ago so she could go to America for a cancer curing vaccine.
But following scans and tests, doctors found between seven to 10 spots of the cancer on her bones.
Her mum, Nicola, and dad Michael, had already booked flights and accommodation in America so Isla could receive the Bivalent vaccine, at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
However this has now had to be cancelled.
Doctors told Isla’s mum, Nicola Caton and dad Michael Hook, that her best chance of surviving would be to go for specialist treatment in Barcelona, where she will receive a number of different chemotherapy drugs that will hopefully get rid of the cancer.
Last Thursday (August 22) Isla, her mum, dad, and a few other members of the family flew to Barcelona and they are expecting to be there as long as six months.
Gaz, and West Ham fan Dylan Bregman, both took part in the celebrity charity football match at Redbridge FC in May, alongside celebrities including Danny Jones from The Voice Kids and former Hammers Carlton Cole, Marlon Harewood and Paul Konchesky.
After the match Gaz jokingly said to Dylan ‘we could do something like this’ and the rest is history.
So far the two groups of fans have raised more than £6,200 online, and ticket sales on the day and Team Isla merchandise sold raised the amount to over £8,000.
Speaking after the match Gaz praised everyone who took part and said: “The weather was shocking but it didn’t let us dampen our spirits.
“The lads smashed it and we made a fortune for for Isla who is an absolute star - which is the most important thing.”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gareth-horsley