Ex-Doncaster Rovers ace Tommy Spurr ready to sell house to fund son's cancer battle

Former Doncaster Rovers star Tommy Spurr has revealed he is prepared to sell his house to fund his young son’s battle with cancer.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 25th July 2022, 2:44 pm
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 2:44 pm

Three-year-old Rio Spurr is battling a form of kidney cancer, undergoing bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy with no guarantee of success.

And his footballer dad Tommy and mum Chloe say they will put their house on the market to raise funds to give their boy the very best chance.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Tommy, who also played for Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday during his career, said Rio’s problems began with a ‘tummy ache’ in April.

Tommy Spurr's young son Rio is battling cancer.

It was actually Wilms’ tumour, a form of kidney cancer in children — and more besides.

He also had two tumours on his lungs and even if chemo and radiotherapy work, there is a strong likelihood the cancer will return.

In such cases the survival rate is around ten per cent and the only real option would be to seek pioneering treatment overseas.

They have been living on savings as Tommy’s career-ending injury was ruled to be "wear and tear", meaning there was no PFA payout.

And now, faced with having to find funds if — as they sadly expect — they must desperately try to seek a cure, they are at their wit’s end.

Tommy had qualified as a teacher, but “working shifts” so one was with Rio in hospital and the other with Rudy meant that — plus Chloe’s job as a beauty therapist — had to go.

His old clubs have helped and next month a 120-mile bike ride from Hillsborough to Deepdale, via Doncaster and Ewood Park, takes place — but more is needed.

He explained: “Rio’s chemotherapy means we didn’t have a choice. He could be in four days at a time and with how it makes him feel, we could be back in hospital at the drop of a hat.

“His immune system is virtually non-existent. As soon as he has a temperature, it’s a 48-hour stay in hospital and we have Rudy to think about too, who is just as important.

“It has been a nightmare. We’re exhausting savings and it’s due to the help and kindness people have shown that we’ve been able to keep going.”

Chloe added: “If Rio is cured at the end of this course of treatment in March — and there’s no guarantee — the high risk features and tumours on his lungs make it more likely to return.

“If it does, his chances of survival are minuscule and he’ll have already had everything he can on the NHS.

“So if we’re in that position we want to be able to give him every possible chance of maybe going abroad.

“If that means having to sell the house, of course we’d do anything.

"But we’re trying to keep life as normal as possible and to make sure one of them has a parent there at all times.”

Tommy added: “He’s a very bright little boy and asks a lot of questions. We told him he was going for a little operation — obviously it wasn’t, he was having a kidney removed.

“But on the way down to the anaesthetist he’s singing the theme to Fireman Sam at the top of his voice, walking down in his gown.

“And when he came home after eight days in, there were a couple of nights when there was lots of singing and laughing. We just didn’t want it to end.

“We have to cherish those times more than we used to because they don’t happen very often.”

Chloe added: “Everyone at hospital is totally charmed by him. He walks down the corridor shouting, ‘Here I am, hiya’. He just loves life,  he loves everything.”

Tommy played 65 games for Rovers between 2011 and 2013 before joining Blackburn Rovers and later played for Preston North End and Fleetwood Town.

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