West Ham join Isla's battle against cancer

27 Jan 2018
Isla and Mark Noble

Hammers helping to raise funds for three-year-old fan with Neuroblastoma to get special treatment in the US

"We have stood there with Isla and the only thing we know how to do is fight."

In January last year, Michael Hook and Nicola Caton noticed their three-year-old daughter, Isla, was feeling unwell.

"She kept getting fevers and was lethargic," Nicola explains. "She was rolling around crying, rubbing her legs, she was in so much pain.

"We went for an ultrasound and it was discovered she had Neuroblastoma."

West Ham United fan Isla has been battling the rare form of cancer since, undergoing a 15-month course of chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

There is hope of a vaccine in the United States and Isla's family are looking to raise £192,000 for her to have specialist treatment there.

"It's only a phase one vaccine so it's not available here, but we've spoken to a few families who have had it and, please God, their children seem to be doing really well," says Nicole.

West Ham supporting Isla's battle

Joining Isla's family in their fight are West Ham and the Bradley Lowery Foundation, set up in memory of the young Sunderland fan whose battle against Neuroblastoma captured the hearts of the world.

Isla was guest of honour at West Ham's match against AFC Bournemouth, leading out the team with captain Mark Noble. Bradley's mother Gemma also attended, while a bucket collection among fans raised further funds.

"Football fans throughout the country have done so much for us and we are so grateful," Nicola says. "We are grateful to everyone and West Ham are like our family so we want to say thank you so much."

Michael Hook has been amazed at the generosity of everybody.

"You get people, strangers, contacting you every week offering to do something for Isla," he says. "It makes you have faith in humanity." 

To make a donation, text the dedicated SMS donation service ISLA14 £1 (or another amount) to 70070, online at JustGiving.

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