Newcastle United Foundation. Newcastle United's Dan Burn spends time with young hospital patients

08 Sep 22

Newcastle United star Dan Burn paid a special visit to meet children receiving treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH) in Newcastle during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Burn took time out to get to know young people and their families spending time on GNCH's paediatric oncology wards who also receive respite support from Newcastle United Foundation staff on site.

Ashington-born defender Burn joined in with ward-based games adapted for young patients, while also signing autographs and taking pictures with young people and their families spending time in hospital.

He said: "There's a lot of brilliant work done by the Foundation alongside the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation - it was great to support that by visiting the kids at the RVI and hearing their stories.

"Sir Bobby has left an incredible legacy - he's a legend, the first manager I really remember growing up supporting Newcastle - and this kind of thing is huge for those needing treatment.

"As a dad, visiting the hospital is an emotional experience - I can't imagine what the parents of these kids are going through. Hopefully by coming and chatting with them about football, I've brought a little bit of joy and helped take their mind off things."

Through funding from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, the official charity arm of Newcastle United works year-round to promote positive mental wellbeing for children and teenagers on the wards through activities, games and team-building.

Gareth Williams, GNCH Project Coordinator at Newcastle United Foundation, said: "Hospital stays are very difficult for children and young people, as well as their families, which is why our key priority is to do everything we can to make the hospital experience a little easier for everyone.

"We aim to help maintain and build self-confidence by keeping young patients active, entertained and engaged at a time when they really need additional support."

The partnership between Newcastle United Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was formed in 2017 and sees Newcastle United Foundation work with more than 50 young people, their siblings, and families annually.

Across 60 hours of Foundation staff contact time per week, young patients build strong relationships with the project team who take Newcastle United into the community.

Teri Bayliss, Charity Director at Newcastle Hospitals Charity, said: "We are very proud of our partnership with Newcastle United Foundation and our funding of Gareth's role, via our Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, so it was wonderful today to see Dan take the time to visit our young patients. We know it will have been such a welcome highlight to their time in hospital."

Burn's visit coincides with Children's Cancer Awareness Month, which is marked throughout September.

In the UK and Ireland, around five children are diagnosed with cancer each week - around 1,820 children annually - and cancer remains the number one cause for death by disease for children.

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