Cancer teen Leon Rendle to visit Manchester United

CANCER battler Leon Rendle, whose hopes of a Florida dream holiday have been tied up in insurance red tape, is set to go on a dream trip after all.
Jane Park serves chips to Leon Remndle. Picture: Phil WilkinsonJane Park serves chips to Leon Remndle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Jane Park serves chips to Leon Remndle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The brave 15-year-old is to be a guest of honour at Old Trafford, where he’ll meet his Manchester United football heroes.

Today his mum Nicky, 42, said the invitation had put a giant smile on her son’s face.

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“It’s brilliant, positive things are starting to happen,” she said. “Leon is over the moon.”

Football-mad Leon, of Lochend, received the special delivery invitation after the visit had been organised by his cousin, Stephen Phillip.

It comes after after Lottery millionaire Jane Park – who’s just started work at her local chippy – generously offered her support in his bid to fly to Florida on a precious holiday with his family.

The teenager, who has incurable Ewing’s sarcoma, had been turned down by several insurance companies. The computer system used to process applications like his has been described as “brutal”.

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Today MSPs and cancer charities urged insurance firms to “have a heart” and rethink the way they deal with cancer patients like Leon. Lothians MSP Neil Findlay said: “I know friends who have been in a similar situation and it is a significant issue. It is a very big worry for people, especially if the hospital or their GP says they are fine to travel.”

Cancer charity Macmillian said 39 per cent of people affected by cancer are hit by higher insurance premiums because of their condition, while others, like Leon, are turned down completely.

“Cancer patients can be quoted unaffordable premiums or refused cover altogether,” said a spokeswoman. “They are then faced with not travelling or struggling with the cost. The industry must ensure insurance is accessible to everyone.”

And Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie added: “People with a terminal illness would expect a higher premium, but it should not prevent them being eligible for insurance. There is something wrong when a computer system overrides basic humanity.”

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Chris West, of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, said many patients who are relatively well are often denied the chance to travel, adding: “The idea that despite having their cancer treated and managed, some people will be effectively barred from travelling is clearly unacceptable.”