Family of footballing legend hold charity auction

CHECT photo of Taylor Treadwell

A signed Sunderland football shirt and an autographed copy of one of the most iconic goals in history are just two of the items up for grabs to raise money for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

The online eBay auction, which starts on Friday (10 March) has been organised by Tina Treadwell, the niece of cup hero Ian Porterfield, who became a footballing legend after his famous goal which gave Sunderland victory over Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup final.

Porterfield made 266 appearances for Sunderland and scored 19 goals, before leaving for Sheffield Wednesday in 1977. He later had a successful career in management, with spells at Rotherham, Sheffield United, Aberdeen, Reading and Chelsea before moving abroad to coach the national teams of other countries, including Zambia.

Porterfield died in September 2007, aged 61, following a battle with colon cancer. Sadly, just over five years later his great nephew, Taylor Treadwell was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. At just a year old, Taylor had to endure months of chemotherapy, laser therapy and cryotherapy to shrink the tumours in his eyes and later had his right eye removed to save his life. He wears an artificial eye and has limited vision but his condition is currently stable and he is a happy, thriving five-year-old boy.

Now mum Tina, from Yateley, Hampshire, is holding an auction to raise money for CHECT, who supported the family through Taylor’s cancer treatment. Tina, 46, said: “My sister in law, Charlie Porterfield, is running the London Marathon this year and I want to help her raise as much money as possible for CHECT, which has been there for us since Taylor was diagnosed. The charity doesn’t receive any government funding and relies on donations to fund its work.

“I know that my uncle Ian would have wanted to do whatever he could to help this cause and would be very proud indeed, as is his brother – my dad William Porterfield.”

The proceeds raised will help the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust to support other families like Taylor’s who have been affected by retinoblastoma, raise awareness of this little known condition and fund research into prevention and treatment.

Taylor was diagnosed in 2013, aged 14 months, after his mum took some lovely photos of him and was planning to send them to a child modelling agency. To get a second opinion, she emailed them to her sister first, who noticed a strange white glow in one of his eyes and remembered reading that this could be a sign of cancer.

Tina looked through some other photos and noticed the white glow in pictures going back six months. After taking him to the GP, Taylor was immediately referred for further tests, which confirmed that he had retinoblastoma. Within four months he had undergone six rounds of chemotherapy, as well as other treatment, to shrink the tumours.

Sadly, in 2015, the cancer returned and he needed surgery to remove his right eye to give him the best chance of survival, followed by more chemotherapy.

Tina said: “Taylor will be monitored closely but he is doing much better now – he has a new prosthetic eye which he copes very well with and has recently started school, which he’s really enjoying. Before Taylor was diagnosed, I didn’t know anything about retinoblastoma and had no idea to look for the ‘white glow’. It’s important that more parents and healthcare professionals are aware because early diagnosis is so important.”

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