Stand Up To Cancer: Cancer patient Lloyd Burton's dream came true when he met his hero David Beckham
Cancer patient Lloyd Burton's dream of meeting his hero David Beckham came true when the football fan paid him a surprise visit during filming for the fundraising campaign Stand Up To Cancer.
Avid Manchester United fan Lloyd and David bonded over their shared passion – football – and also talked about what David has been up to since retiring from the sport.
In the surprise meeting, which will be aired during Stand Up To Cancer's TV show on Friday 17 October, David also quizzed Lloyd about any girlfriends he has at school and revealed some lessons about boys that he's teaching his little girl Harper, the youngest of the Beckham brood.
Lloyd's budding football career was tragically cut short when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour (medulloblastoma) in May last year. The 11-year-old has undergone rigorous treatment for his cancer including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy which has left him with life-changing side effects and means he now uses a wheelchair. Before his diagnosis, Lloyd had been scouted by clubs including Man United, Aston Villa, Port Vale and Shrewsbury for their junior teams.
Speaking of the unforgettable surprise of meeting his sports idol, the youngster said: "I had no idea that I was going to meet David Beckham, it was such a brilliant surprise! He was really nice and we chatted lots. He told me a bit about his family and other normal stuff and we talked about football quite a lot too. I love football and Beckham is one of my favourite players so I'll always remember that day."
Lloyd and his family – parents Di and David and his two older sisters Hannah and Issy – are all rallying behind the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.
"It's an understatement to say that these past few months have been the hardest for our family; there are days that feel impossible to get through and unfortunately we know that there will be more difficult days to come. So it was such a joy to see Lloyd when he met David - he couldn't believe his eyes, he was so excited and for a few minutes he was speechless," said Lloyd's mother.
"The meeting with David provided Lloyd with a small respite from his every day challenges and brought a little bit of sunshine into his life. David chatted and really put Lloyd at ease, he was totally thrilled by the whole experience.
"Lloyd has been so brave and we're really proud of him. Sharing his story as part of Stand Up To Cancer is incredibly important to our whole family. If our experience can encourage and inspire others to support the vital research that this campaign funds, then something positive will have come out of it."
Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK, said: "Thanks to research, today two thirds of children will survive medulloblastoma for five years or more. But unfortunately some children will experience long term side effects from the treatments used against the disease. The funds raised through Stand up to Cancer will speed up the development of more effective and kinder cancer treatments to help more people beat the disease and live a long life unaffected by side effects."
In 2012, Stand Up To Cancer's fundraising total exceeded £8million funding 12 clinical trials across the UK and this year's aim is to do even better. The 2014 campaign is encouraging people to join the front line against cancer this autumn by fundraising, buying merchandise and tuning in to the live TV show on Channel 4 on Friday 17th October. The culmination of activities will see stars from TV, music, film and fashion joining forces to galvanize the nation to show cancer, that it's payback time.
For more information about the campaign and how to fundraise, go to: www.standuptocancer.org.uk or follow Stand Up To Cancer UK on Facebook: www.facebook.com/standuptocancerUK and Twitter: https://twitter.com/StandUp2C