Trio of Leeds United stars bring Elland Road joy to families affected by cancer

Kalvin Phillips, Raphinha and Joe Gelhardt paid a surprise visit to Leeds United fans affected by cancer this week.

By Flora Snelson
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 5:00 pm

Ten families of young Leeds United fans affected by cancer were invited for a guided tour of Elland Road this week.

The fans, who had previously been special guests at Premier League fixtures this season, were shown around the Whites' historic home ground in an event organised by the club and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Read More

Read More
Where Leeds United sit in the Premier League table - based ONLY on Jesse Marsch'...

Sign up to our Leeds United newsletter

Just as supporters were lining up to take a photograph by the Elland Road scoreboard, three Whites players snuck out of the tunnel to give them a surprise.

Fans were delighted to find Phillips, Raphinha and Gelhardt photobombing their group picture and the trio of stars gave their time to talk to the guests, take photographs and sign autographs.

Among those invited was Matt Slater, season ticket holder and Dad to George, 5, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in September 2020, and Harry, 8.

"It's been a rough 18 months so it's fantastic that we can have days out like this," Slater said.

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips embraces a young fan. Pic: Leeds United Football Club.

"He missed out on a lot of things, with COVID and everything else, you've got to be mindful of that.

"It has definitely had an impact on him but it's great that he can come down and see all this as well - we're super excited.

"It's fantastic that Leeds support these charities and that charities are able to do things like this.

"Kids like George, and all the other boys and girls who are here - it's great that they get to experience these things."

Leeds United winger Raphinha greets a young fan at Elland Road. Pic: Leeds United Football Club.

Gelhardt was pleased to have the opportunity to make people happy.

"It's important for us to be involved and hopefully we can put a smile on their faces," Gelhardt said.

"They've been through some hard times so if we can make their day better or even their week or month, I'm happy to be involved in that.

"Somewhere along the line someone you know has probably had it [cancer] or had an experience with it so it's something I'm aware of.

Young Leeds United fans affected by cancer pose with Whites stars on the pitch at Elland Road. Pic: Leeds United Football Club.

"My best mate's nan passed away from it so it's something I'm aware of and happy to help with."

"When I was younger we had professional footballers come to our school and it would make us so happy when you looked up to someone and they came and visited you," he said.

"I love doing it and putting smiles on people's faces, and I expected to do it as a footballer because I've seen people doing it for me when I was a kid."