Family's football fundraiser in memory of Sunderland boy who died aged eight of cancer

The devoted family of a little Sunderland fan, who died aged eight of neuroblastoma, have organised a charity football tournament in his memory in the lead up to what would have been his 21st birthday.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 10:17 am
Kieran Anderson with Black Cats mascot Delilah

Sunderland fan Kieran Anderson died when he was just eight years old following a three-and-a-half year battle with neuroblastoma in 2008.

In the run up to what would have been his 21st birthday, his family hope to remember the ‘amazing’ little boy with the sport he loved so much.

Mum, Vici Peebles says she has been overwhelmed with the response they have received from the people of Sunderland after they decided to host a charity match at Ashbrooke Sports Club.

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Anne Kemp (grandmother), Natasha Peebles (sister), Darren Peebles (brother) Stepahnie Green (family friend), Sandra Burns (aunt) and Derek Kermp (grandfather)

The 41-year-old mum, who lives in Roker, said: “Kieran died when he was just eight and he would be approaching 21 soon. Every year we collect selection boxes to hand out at children’s hospitals at Christmas but to mark his 21st we decided to do something a little bit different.

“We decided to put on a charity football match but we had so many people wanting to take part it’s become a tournament with 120 players taking part.

“Kieran was a typical little boy, he loved Sunderland AFC and he never missed a football match. The club use to let him in a VIP box when he was undergoing treatment because he couldn’t been in with the crowd.

“It’s good to be able to do something in his memory that he loved so much.

Kieran in his Peter Pan outfit

“I do often wonder what he would be doing now. Some of his brothers and sisters are now leading their own lives, which is what he should have been doing.”

The youngster was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma – cancer of the nervous system- in 2004 with his family being told the devastating news that his condition was terminal.

But Kieran lived life to the full and the community rallied together to raise the thousands of pounds needed to send him to both Lapland to meet Santa and Disneyland to meet Mickey Mouse and his hero Peter Pan.

“He also loved Peter Pan and had his own Disney Peter Pan outfit which we still have,” added Vici, who is mum to Natasha, 23, Darren, 22, Stephanie, 12, Errin, 11, and eight-year-old Jimmy.

Mum Vici Peebles and son Kieran Anderson

Vici is now in the second year of her nursing degree at Sunderland University and has dreams of becoming a nurse and working in palliative care or end of life after being inspired by the Macmillan nurses who cared for her son.

“When Kieran was poorly the Macmillan nurses went above and beyond what you’d expect a nurse to do. I couldn’t thank them enough.”

The football tournament and fun day in Kieran’s memory will take place at Ashbrooke Sports Club in Sunderland from 1pm on Sunday, September 15.

Initially the family had hoped to range £2,000 but have upped their target to £5,000 for Children’s Cancer Research.