Great support for football fundraiser in honour of Ryan

Hospital cancer wards and a Berwick-based charity were the ultimate winners of a football fundraiser in honour of a 26-year-old from the town who is battling an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 7:58 pm
One of the teams included Ryan’s mum Tracy Renton, other members of the family and some of her colleagues from Berwick Infirmary. Picture by Jim Gibson.

Ryan Renton played for junior teams at Tweedmouth Amateurs from the age of five and progressed to the senior side at the age of 16.

He could no longer play for the team after being diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) – a rare form of blood cancer – aged 19 in 2015.

The former Berwick High School/Berwick Academy student went into remission in 2016, but the cancer returned in 2019. And after responding well to treatment in the months that followed, doctors in summer 2020 found that his cancer had progressed to Richter's syndrome – an extremely rare complication with CLL.

A bone marrow transplant took place in January this year, but the lymphoma returned in August.

However, the Renton family (including his parents Brian and Tracy and sister Stacy), who live in the Newfields area of Berwick, are hopeful that his current treatment called CAR T-cell therapy will have a positive effect on his condition.

And they supported Tweedmouth Amateurs in the organising of a fun day six-a-side tournament last Sunday that included other fundraising, with £4,400 raised so far.

The money will be given to wards 33 and 34 at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where Ryan has received treatment, and the Berwick and District Cancer Support Group (Berwick’s Cancer Cars).

There were more than 20 sides on the day at Five Arches and one of the teams was Tracy, other members of the family and some of her colleagues from Berwick Infirmary.

Brian also formed a team with some of his friends.

Brian said: “As well as the tournament, there were raffles and a tombola, a disco and a bouncy castle. Funds were also raised from delicious cakes sold by people from Marshall’s Cafe.

“We’re very grateful to the Tweedmouth Amateurs, all those involved in organising the event and attractions, and everyone who donated.

“A week earlier, The Brewers Arms in Berwick held a bingo night to raise money for Ryan and that also received great support – the total was £2,060.

“The response from the community has been amazing and this also includes the many donations on the online JustGiving page set-up last year that raised more than £6,000 for Ryan.”

Presuming that nothing unusual comes up when he has a positron emission tomography (PET) scan on Tuesday, Ryan will return to the Freeman Hospital on October 20 for an important step in his CAR T-cell therapy.

Doctors have already taken a sample of T-cells from his blood and on this day they will be put back into his bloodstream after being genetically engineered so they can be more effective at battling cancer because it can be difficult for T-cells to tell the difference between a cancer cell and a normal cell.