Colleagues, friends and former teammates of Tommy Spurr had donated almost £6,500 as of Thursday morning to help support him and his wife Chloe while they care for their three-year old child Rio.
The youngster has been diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour – a type of kidney cancer in children – and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
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A statement from 34-year-old Spurr shared via another of his former clubs, Preston North End, read: "On 17th April, we found out that our beautiful Rio has cancer. We were transferred from Blackburn A&E in an ambulance to Royal Manchester’s Children’s Hospital where we quickly found ourselves on the oncology ward. Rio had X-rays, blood tests, an ultrasound scan, CT scan and MRI scan.
“Our consultant told us he had a large tumour on his kidney and that the cancer had spread to his lungs so was stage four.”
Rio has been having chemotherapy since April and two weeks ago underwent a four-hour surgery to remove the main tumour and his right kidney.
The statement continued: “This week we had the pathology results of the tumour they removed. It was not the news we were hoping for or expecting.
"The histology is unfavourable and high risk.”
The youngster’s condition is still treatable but his chemotherapy will be more intense, Spurr said, adding that he will also need radiotherapy.
The statement continued: “Devastatingly, it means his chances of surviving this have decreased. He started his new chemo today and has been an absolute superstar as always.
“It is breaking our hearts. We are so proud of him! Beyond proud of him and Rudy (Rio’s younger brother) who is a massive part of this too. They are both remarkable little boys! Rio has been through far too much already and a lot more to come but still he continues to smile and sing.
"Meeting Clo (Spurr’s wife) and becoming Rio and Rudy’s daddy are the best things that have ever happened to me. I know I was put on this earth to be their Daddy. I love them all so much my heart could explode!!
“I will make sure that we get through this as safely, smoothly and as surrounded by love as possible. There has already been moments of joy along the way that we initially never thought possible.
“We are very grateful for everyone’s love and support. We are completely blown away by some people’s kindness. I promise nothing goes unnoticed!”
Spurr spent two seasons with Doncaster Rovers from 2011 to 2013.
He has since completed a degree in sports & exercise science and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, according to his linkedIn profile, and currently teaches sport at Priestley College in Warrington.
A GoFundMe page read: “Tommy and Chloe have had to significantly reduce their working hours to manage caring for Rio and his younger brother Rudy around time spent at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where Rio is being treated.
"We felt the family might need additional support during this difficult time so that they can concentrate on looking after Rio and Rudy.”
Chris Brown, Neil Mellor and Jordan Hugill are among the former teammates of Spurr’s listed as donors.
You can donate HERE.