Newcastle fans urged to clap at match in memory of 17-year-old who died from rare cancer

Mason Kirk Credit: Family picture

The family of a 17-year-old boy who died suddenly from a rare form of cancer are being urged to clap at the 17th minute of Newcastle's match against Brighton on Saturday in his memory.

Mason Kirk, a keen Newcastle fan, passed away on the 27 January, just nine days after being diagnosed.

His dad Michael told ITV News Tyne Tees: "After complaining about back pain for several weeks and unsuccessful trips to a walk-in centre, and his GP, I took him to A&E where he received an MRI scan that showed lesions in his spine. 

"We were transferred to the RVI, which is where we received a diagnosis no parent wants to hear - aggressive and inoperable late-stage ATRT cancer in his spine and brainstem"

"Mason died on the 27 January, just nine days after he was diagnosed. 

"It’s took awhile for me to pull myself round (as I suffer from severe mental illness). So I decided to begin organising something to raise awareness of ATRT and teen cancer, and to pay tribute to our beautiful brave son.

"Mason was an avid Newcastle United fan, I took him to his first game when he was 6 and he caught the NUFC bug. Later, he and his friends bought season tickets."

Michael is now trying to honour him with a clap at this weekends game.

After reaching out to the club and to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Mason will also feature in the programme.

Michael continues: "Mason’s memory will live on through myself, his Mam Leanne, his little brother Alfy, cousin Liam and the rest of our family.

"He was the nucleus of our lives…our world is shattered but we cannot let our courageous son’s story go untold."

"We realise things are tight for a lot of us at the minute but we’d like any donations to go to Great North Children’s Hospital or the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation."

What is ATRT cancer?

Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is a rare and fast-growing cancer of the brain and spinal cord.

ATRT is very rare and is found in fewer than 10% of children with brain tumors.

Symptoms of ATRT can be:

  • Morning headaches or headaches that are less painful after vomiting

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Changes in activity levels

  • Feeling sleepy

  • Loss of balance, increasing problems with coordination or trouble walking

  • Asymmetric eye movements or face movements