A TERMINALLY-ILL teenager whose parents launched a plea to allow them to spend as much time as possible with their son is set for a red letter day with his footballing heroes.
Leon Rendle’s battle against an incurable form of cancer sparked a fundraising drive to help mother Nicky, 42, take time off work to be with him.
Since the news broke last week, the Lochend family has been inundated with donations and messages of support from readers who were moved by his plight.
Now, he will receive a VIP day with his favourite team Hibernian FC who have invited Leon, 15, to watch a training session and to have lunch with the players. The Leith Academy pupil will also watch the Easter Road team turn out from the comfort of the directors’ box in the coming weeks.
An online fundraising page to help the family has swollen by more than £1400 in just five days – a major boost to the £4000 already raised by friends and family who rallied to cover costs after Leon was admitted to hospital. One neighbour donated a whopping £500 to the cause.
Nicky Rendle said the public response to the story had been “gobsmacking”.
“You don’t know until you are in that situation how many people are willing to give up their time and money to help,” she said. “It is amazing – it is also selfless and humbling.”
She added: “Any donations are greatly appreciated by Leon and our family to help us fulfil his wishes.”
Brave 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, the youngster went into remission in October.
But the disease returned in May and the family was this time told it was incurable.
The family has been supported through many difficult times by the 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 quote.
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.
The family, of Hawkhill, Lochend, told the News last week how they had been touched by the remarkable fundraising efforts of those who are determined to help them spend as much time together as possible.
Nicky has urged Leon to consider creating his own bucket list of things he’d love to do. Among them is a trip to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry to swim with sharks, which thanks to CCLASP, is already on the cards.