Hospital's sick children get World Cup warm-up

Chrislin Bose

Chrislin Bose

First published in News

BRAVE Chrislin Bose was first diagnosed with bone cancer in December.

But the three year-old tot was all smiles yesterday when the World Cup roadshow visited Oxford’s Children’s Hospital.

Former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown brought a taste of the football tournament to her and her friends.

And Chrislin, who has had to undergo two months of chemotherapy, was thrilled to meet the competition’s official mascot Fuleco.

Her mum Judy Mathew, 34, from Banbury, said: “She loves football. It is one of her and her dad Jose’s favourite things. It was really good and it lifted her spirits. She is always happy in the play room.”

Cowley-born Mr Keown made more than 300 appearances for Arsenal and was capped 43 times for England, travelling to the 1998 and 2002 World Cup.

Nearly a dozen children met Mr Keown and the Brazil 2014 mascot Fuleco in the sponsor Continental Tyres roadshow yesterday.
Mr Keown reminisced about his first World Cup memories of 1974 and said of his visit to the hospital: “It just brightens up their day. It is very sad to see any kids with health problems. They are all fighters.
“We are just trying to bring a bit of cheer and light so the kids know that the World Cup is about to take place. Football is all about health. It is about bringing people together.
“Oxford Children’s Hospital also offers outstanding care for the young, so it’s great to be able to bring them some World Cup fun and build excitement ahead of the big event this summer.”

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Life-time Arsenal fan Luke Biggs,16, above, who is one of a handful of people across the UK to have had two bowel transplants, was one of the first to meet the team.
Luke said: “It was brilliant. It brightens up your day if you meet someone like Martin Keown. We are stuck in a hospital room 24/7 and it was great to have the chance to do this.
“I have followed football since I was born. My grandparents support Arsenal and I’ve grown up supporting the team.”
The media studies student from Abingdon has suffered from Hirschsprung’s bowel disease since birth.
He is a season ticket-holder at the Emirates and regularly travels to London for home games with his dad Ian. But he was forced to miss this year’s FA Cup semi-final against Wigan because he was in hospital.

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With Josh Hawkins, five, and Tilly Freeman, 10

Tilly Freeman and her family put England flags outside their house for every World Cup.
The 10 year-old Manchester United fan met the mascot hours before having a liver biopsy.
Mum Hayley Wesley said: “It is really good bringing the roadshow to the hospital. We have had to travel a long way to the John Radcliffe and it has been very distressing. But this has distracted her from thinking about the scans and her nerves.”

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