Cancer-hit teen Leon taunted for having no hair

Leon with Hibs stars Paul Hanlon, Lewis Stevenson and Scott Robertson. Picture: contributed
Leon with Hibs stars Paul Hanlon, Lewis Stevenson and Scott Robertson. Picture: contributed
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A CANCER-hit teenager’s red letter day with his footballing idols was tarnished by a stranger who mocked him for having no hair.

Leon Rendle, 15, had enjoyed a memorable day as a VIP guest at Hibs before a slap up meal at TGI Friday’s when a heartless lout taunted him about his appearance.

The youngster, who is bald from intense chemotherapy, had been picking up treats from the Tesco at Picardy Place when a man said: “You ought to get a haircut, sonny.”

The cruel remark was made out of earshot of Leon’s parents but left the Leith Academy pupil upset and shaken.

After being told of the incident, father James went to confront the man who had left the shop.

Leon is suffering from a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma, which attacks his soft tissue. It affects fewer than 30 children in the UK.

Following surgery, chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, he went into remission in October.

But the cancer has since returned, with doctors describing it as incurable.

Leon’s mother, Nickie, 42, said the incident had been a “horrible” experience for the youngster who was self-conscious about his appearance.

She said “I didn’t see or hear what happened, but Leon was shaken. I think he was more stunned than anything else.

“He is a natural-born worrier and is completely bald so it is obvious he has been ill.

“He worries about what people think about him. He’s only 15 and he was shocked.

“You don’t expect anyone to say something like that.”

Earlier in the day, Leon had met his Hibs heroes – including new manager Alan Stubbs – and enjoyed his first ever ride aboard an Edinburgh tram with his parents and sister Chloe.

The family have been fundraising to allow Nickie to take time off work so she can spent as much time as possible with her son.

She said: “There are lots of kind, wonderful people out there but there is always one idiot.”

The Rendle family has been supported through many difficult times by Edinburgh-based charity CCLASP.

It even waded in when the family was quoted £12,000 for insurance to cover a fortnight’s holiday in Canada.

CCLASP managed to track down a firm that agreed to insure the terminally-ill teenager for a fraction of the original fee.

While in Canada, Leon was treated to a surprise meeting with former England international and Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe, who agreed to a kick-about before one of his matches.