- Video report by ITV News North of England Correspondent Damon Green
England captain Harry Kane has vowed to do “everything” to keep a young cancer patient smiling by beating Sweden in the World Cup.
The Tottenham Hotspur star replied to a tweet by paediatric radiographer Liam Herbert, who shared a video of Ben Williams receiving a replica World Cup trophy.
The five-year-old could not walk or talk before his treatment but he asked for the World Cup as his speech returned while he was going through a course of radiotherapy for a brain tumour.
Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham then threw him a celebration to mark the end of his treatment in which he was presented with a certificate and the replica.
Mr Herbert tweeted the video to Kane, saying: “Ben has just completed his #radiotherapy for a #braintumour, he was unable to walk and talk before his treatment but a week ago he asked for the World Cup, so we delivered. @England and @HKane can you do the same? #cancer #threelions #ChildhoodCancer #nhs70 #Itscomminghome.”
To his surprise, the Three Lions star replied a day later.
Kane tweeted: “Hi Ben, I’ve seen your video and you are an inspiration.
“Carry on fighting and we’ll do everything we can on Saturday to keep a smile on your face! #BensWorldCup.”
Following the forward’s reply, Ben’s father, Sam Williams, told ITV News: “When we saw the message from Harry Kane – that’s what this has been all about, to get Ben’s favourite player to give him a shout out.
“To say how well Harry Kane thinks Ben’s done. And for Ben to be an inspiration for the team tomorrow, to kind of really kick on.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of days. We couldn’t be any more happy with the guys at the hospital for arranging this for us, for arranging the ceremony yesterday and for getting Ben through what’s been an incredibly tough 6 weeks.”
In the video the youngster, wearing an England shirt, unwrapped the trophy and held it close to him as a nurse helped him hold the “really heavy” replica.
Mr Williams told The Independent: “Six weeks ago, Ben couldn’t talk or walk but we’ve essentially seen our little boy come back to us in the last few weeks.
“They had already been absolutely wonderful, but what the staff in the radiology department did for him on his last day of treatment was just so special.”
England play Sweden in the World Cup quarter-final in Samara at 3pm UK time on Saturday.
- The hospital charity where Ben was treated has set up a fundraising page to support other children, like Ben, receiving radiotherapy in Birmingham. If you’d like to donate, visit justgiving.com/bensworldcup