England captain Harry Kane took time out of his last day of training before the Euros final to send a special message to a Suffolk toddler fighting a rare brain tumour.
Yesterday, brave two year old Harry Crick from Elmswell, received a surprise video message from the England and Tottenham Hotspur striker. Addressing Harry’s older brother Olly (10), Kane wished little Harry all the best as he fights an embryonal tumour with multi-layered rosettes (ETMR).
The star England player said: “Hi Olly, how you doing, mate? I hear your brother’s going through a tough time, Harry. So, I just wanted to wish you all the best and with your brother all the best… not just from me but from all the England team and staff as well… hopefully we can put a smile on your face tomorrow night but I just wanted to send my best wishes. All the best guys.”
Harry was diagnosed with the rare brain cancer on 17th December 2020, after he became unwell with a cold and was unsteady on his feet. ETMR is classified as grade 4, meaning that it is very aggressive, with a prognosis of just 12 months.
On Christmas Eve, the inspiring tot underwent surgery to remove the tennis ball-sized tumour at Addenbooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. His operation was followed by five rounds of gruelling chemotherapy. On 3rd June, Harry had to travel to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool for a second craniotomy, after scans revealed the tumour was growing back.
Harry, who has three older brothers, is now in Essen, Germany, where he is receiving proton beam therapy to tackle the remaining cells of his tumour.
Harry’s dad Matt Crick, a 32-year-old stable yardman, said: “For the best chance of survival, Harry needs to have proton beam therapy. Usually, he would be having the treatment at The Christie in Manchester but due to the pandemic, there are delays and Harry cannot afford to wait. Thankfully, we’ve been able to travel to Germany, where we’ll be based for nine weeks, so he can be treated at the West German Proton Therapy Center (WPE). Luckily, it’s all covered by the NHS.
Matt added: “My wife Nelly (30), mother-in-law Miranda and Harry’s older brother James (five) are here with us but heartbreakingly, Harry’s other two brothers, Olly and Finley (nine), are back in the UK with their mum and we miss them terribly. It was such a fantastic boost for Olly to get a video message from Harry Kane. It’s incredible that the ‘man of the moment’, took time out of his day to do this, the day before the biggest football game of his career to date. It’s cheered us all up. We’re so grateful and will be cheering him on tonight when he leads the team out to face Italy. Come on England!”
Matt’s sister, Hayley Crick, has set up a GoFundMe page, asking for donations to help cover some of the costs associated with relocating the family to Germany for two months. The family has also raised £2,270 for Brain Tumour Research via a Facebook Fundraiser and they’re sharing updates about Harry on their Facebook page, Our Harry, Our Hero.
Matt said: “Our little Harry really is a hero and we’re in awe of the strength and resilience he has shown through this terrible ordeal. By getting his story out there, we really hope to raise awareness of this hideous disease and to raise funds to support the amazing work of Brain Tumour Research.
“We want to thank everyone who has donated and helped us on our journey so far. We are humbled and overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity we’ve been shown. Together, we can beat this and find a cure.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Hugh Adams, Head of Stakeholder Relations, at Brain Tumour Research, said: “It was really wonderful to see that Harry Kane has sent a message of support to little Harry and his family, on this most important of footballing weekends. We send our best wishes and support to the England team and thank the captain for helping to shine a light on this cruel disease.
“Harry’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any age. By creating awareness of the horrifying statistics, by funding research at our Centres of Excellence and through our lobbying of the Government and the larger cancer charities to increase the national spend, we are determined to change the situation.
“It’s concerning that Harry is not able to receive the treatment they need in this country quickly enough, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. We are doing all we can to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t put the development of future therapies in jeopardy, as we strive to continue making a difference for those diagnosed with a brain tumour.”
To donate to Brain Tumour Research, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/donation