Leeds United is more than just a football club – we are a family.
That’s the message from Elland Road’s top boss, as the club steps in to support a young fan who needs to raise £200,000 towards treatment for a rare form of cancer.
The parents of little Toby Nye, who suffers from high risk neuroblastoma, appealed for help in June for funds to pay for the expensive treatment, which is not routinely available on the NHS.
Now Leeds United has pledged to help raise the sum needed for the four-year-old Whites fan, by donating one day’s salary of players and staff involved with the club.
The big-hearted gesture will take place when the Whites take on Sheffield United at Elland Road next Friday – in a day which has been dubbed ‘One Day for Toby’.
Toby’s mum, Stacey Worsley, and Alan Scorfield, chief executive of the Leeds United Foundation, both spoke to the YEP today after the announcement.
Miss Worsley, from Osmandthorpe, said the support from the club came after Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani visited the youngster in hospital after hearing about his plight.
“For Andrea to want to see us and help us was amazing,” she said.
“It’s overwhelming. It would have been really difficult to reach the target without this.
“Toby is a Leeds fan. He likes looking at the badge and if you ask him who he supports, he says ‘Leeds United’.
“I feel like I’m part of the Leeds United family now.”
Neuroblastoma is a rare type of cancer that can spread to other organs. In the build-up to the match next week, Elland Road will host a series of fundraising activities for supporters to take part in.
Little ‘Team Toby’ badges have also been created by Leeds.
As well as players, staff at Leeds, workers from club parent company Aser and the Leeds United Foundation are pledging to donate one day’s salary to Toby’s cause.
Mr Radrizzani said: “Toby and his family met with me recently and I was deeply moved by his situation, as we all are.
“At Leeds United we do things as a family, Toby is part of our family and he needs our help. I know our supporters will unite behind us and together we can get him the treatment he needs to get better.”
After setting up a website and organising fundraisers since February, his family have raised more than £40,000 so far towards Toby’s treatment.
The boss of the Leeds United Foundation, the club’s charitable arm, said the organisation is proud to support Toby Nye.
Alan Scorfield, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Toby is an energetic young lad and a Leeds fan who needs help.
“Toby to me seems like somebody who is a little bit on his own, and somebody who we need to help.
“We want to give him the chance, we are a family and a team and we want to support him.”