Spencer McCall is receiving great backing from the Non-League family
By John Lyons
Grateful Spencer McCall says he has been overwhelmed by the support from the Non-League family in his battle against cancer.
The 25-year-old had bravely fought off a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma in his leg last year and was given the all-clear.
However, in February he was given the devastating news that the cancer had spread to his lungs and there were multiple tumours in both.
With chemotherapy failing to stop the aggressive cancer and alternative treatments not available in the UK, McCall has been forced to look abroad. He is now hoping to go to Germany and Spain for live-saving therapies – but needs to raise around £90,000 to fund them.
By Friday – just a week after the launch – a whopping total of more than £74,000 had been donated on his JustGiving page.
While it has come from a variety of sources, it’s clear the Non-League family has contributed a fair share. The popular midfielder has played for Wingate & Finchley, Bishop’s Stortford, Harrow Borough, Hendon and Hemel Hempstead and his story has touched the hearts of many.
He called The NLP on Wednesday, the third day of another gruelling four-day stint of chemotherapy, to let everyone know how appreciative he is.
“The amount of people who have got behind it is unbelievable,” said McCall, who was also a scholar with Stevenage. “It’s been quite overwhelming.
“It’s just trying to get back to everyone to say thank you. The way the football community, especially Non-League, have come together has been really good.
“I’ve been taken aback by the support. It’s very nice to read the messages and it does raise your spirits.”
His most recent club, Hemel Hempstead, have certainly done their bit to aid the cause.
Spencer McCall in action for Hemel
“They’ve been brilliant with me,” said McCall, who spent time in Valencia’s academy when he was living with his family in Spain. “Everything I asked for they have done straightaway, they have been forward-thinking with fundraising whether it’s been charity games or walks.”
As he battles for life, McCall is also unstinting in his praise for those nearest and dearest to him.
“I’m very lucky to have such a close family, my girlfriend, Sarah, and a very close circle of friends,” he explained. “They have been by my side the whole way through. It has probably been harder for them than it has been for me. They have been unbelievable on the whole journey.”
With backing from far and wide, McCall is determined to give everything he can to fight off the cancer and is optimistic the new treatments, such as innovative CyberKnife therapy which can accurately target tumours, will bear fruit.
“These sort of treatments aren’t available on the NHS, but we’ve gathered a team of doctors from abroad,” said McCall. “It comes at a cost, but there are a lot of positive stories out there about the treatments with the type of cancer I’ve got. The outcomes have been very positive, so I’m very excited about it.”
Supporting him every step of the way will be his dad, Gary. He, too, has been bowled over by the response to his son’s plight.
“I thought people we knew would donate in the first couple of days and then things would quieten down, but it’s snowballed,” he told The NLP.
“I rarely look at the page – it’s strange when you see people talking about your own son – but I recognise a lot of the names. It’s quite humbling. It’s not the money, it’s that Non-League family thing – it’s the support you get. It’s just nice to see people are still there rooting for him. It’s a boost for him.”
Spencer Snr has been blown away by how his son, who hopes to begin his new therapies in Germany later this month, has fought his disease.
“As a dad, you are always proud of your kids,” he added. “I still see him as a kid, not a 25-year-old.
“He’s been through more than anyone should go through, including three major surgeries, but he’s always upbeat.
“He’s quite pragmatic and puts on a brave face. I couldn’t do what he’s done.”
To make a donation towards the £90,000 target, check out: http://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/spencer-mccall