Watch Ryan Reynolds' video message to Gateshead six-year-old in need of bone marrow donation

Reynolds reached out to Leland through Twitter before their two football teams went head to head. Credit: JJ O'Donnell/ITV Tyne Tees

Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds has joined the campaign to help find a six-year-old from Gateshead a bone marrow donor.

Leland needs to locate a match and his search has gone global thanks to the famous actor.

Reynolds bought the North Wales club in 2020 with friend and fellow actor Rob McElhenney, setting out to change the fortunes of one of football's oldest clubs.

Before their clash in Northumberland last Saturday, Spartans midfielder JJ O'Donnell tweeted about the mascot's condition. Reynolds spotted it, shared the story with his 20 million followers - and got in touch.

A video from the Deadpool star followed alongside little Leland's thank you response.

"I just wanted to send a little video to let you know that I'm thinking about you," said Reynolds.

"I know that you love football. That's one thing that you and I have in common in a big way - we both love football. Although I'd venture a bet that you know more about football than I do, as I'm kind of new to it."

The actor went on to say that he hopes to meet the six-year-old in person one day.

Leland replied: "Thanks JJ and Ryan Reynolds. I really appreciate that video and thanks for caring about me. Love you. Bye."

Reynolds, who is shooting a film in America, then invited Leland to watch the replay game from the VIP box tonight (18 October).

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, O'Donnell said Reynolds made Leland feel like the "most important boy in the world".

He hopes the heightened exposure will produce what everyone wants - a stem cell match.

Leland, who will be cheering on his hero and friend O'Donnell, said: “It’s quite outstanding and exciting.

"I was quite shocked and I didn’t know what was coming.

"It makes me feel popular and famous and it’s quite nice, but I’m just happy being normal.

"It’s going to be a quite outstanding game."

"It will be hard to decide who’s going to win as they’re both such good teams. You never know. Sometimes it might be 3-0, sometimes it might be 1-0, you just never know."

Leland's mother thanked Reynolds and is hopeful the actor's support will increase the chances of helping her son.

"I’m beyond overwhelmed and blown away by it," she said.

"If we can try and get that donor found within the next few months, Leland can go through a stem cell bone marrow transplant, hopefully in the New Year.

"He is full of beans, he’s loving it. Loving all of the attention.

"But the main thing for him is he idolises JJ and he can’t wait to go on that pitch and have a kick about with all of the Blyth Spartans team. And that’s what it’s all about, it’s about him having fun and raising awareness."

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