Footballer Jermain Defoe calls on Sunderland supporters to support young Newcastle fan with cancer

Sunderland AFC striker Jermain Defoe is calling on his club’s supporters to help a young Newcastle United fan living with cancer receive a potentially life-saving vaccine.

The Bradley Lowery Foundation, of which Defoe is a patron, is working with Rocco Troiano’s family to raise £230,000 to help the three-year-old access a pioneering new treatment, which is currently available only in North America, to help reduce his risk of relapse.

Rocco was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma last year and has been undergoing intensive frontline treatment, including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, operations and antibody treatments, at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

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With the help of the Foundation, which was set up in August 2017 following the death of six-year-old Bradley in July of that year, Rocco’s family have already raised more than £150,000.

Left, Rocco Troiano pictured with his family and right, Jermain Defoe with Bradley Lowery.Left, Rocco Troiano pictured with his family and right, Jermain Defoe with Bradley Lowery.
Left, Rocco Troiano pictured with his family and right, Jermain Defoe with Bradley Lowery.

Defoe, who returned to Sunderland AFC in January after spells at Bournemouth and Rangers – has now joined the appeal.

In a video message released on Tuesday, March 1, he said: “The Bradley Lowery Foundation needs you to help Rocco. Rocco has neuroblastoma, the same cancer that Bradley had.

"So, we’re asking you to show your support, like you did for Bradley, when the whole nation came out in force, and we need the same support for Rocco.”

Rocco is from Jesmond in Newcastle.

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Lynn Murphy, chief operating officer of the Bradley Lowery Foundation, added: “Rocco is a very brave young man, and his family have been working incredibly hard to raise the money to get him to New York for this pioneering vaccine.

“While SAFC and NUFC have a long-term rivalry on the pitch, we know that fans will put their differences to one side and come together to help a poorly child, just like they did for Brad.

“With Jermain leading the charge, we’re certain Sunderland fans will dig deep and donate to such a good cause.”

Since its launch, the Foundation has raised more than £3million for poorly children across the UK, established a dedicated support line for the families of children with cancer, donated more than £200,000 to researching childhood cancers and campaigned for new drugs to be introduced in the UK.

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You can donate to Rocco’s fundraiser online here or by texting SAFC to 70480 to donate £5.

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