KIND-HEARTED Pompey footballers left the family of a courageous teenager battling cancer overwhelmed after they forked out to pay for the trip of a lifetime.
Brave Bethany Tiller was shocked when she was diagnosed with non-Hogkin’s lymphoma about a year ago – a rare blood disease which has ravaged her young body.
The courageous 16-year-old and her loved ones thought she had beaten the condition after undergoing an intense bout of chemotherapy and a bone transplant in the summer.
But just weeks later the family were dealt a hammer blow by doctors with the heartbreaking news that the cancer had returned – and more aggressively than before her treatment.
Upon hearing of the Denmead girl’s plight, generous Pompey players Kyle Bennett and Christian Burgess rallied the rest of The Blues to pay for a dream trip to London to see the Lion King – and for her family to stay in an exclusive five-star hotel near Buckingham Palace.
Beth’s dad David said: ‘It’s hard to put into words just how much this means to us.
‘Bethany had the biggest smile on her face. What they’ve done is incredible.’
David, an avid Pompey fan, first got in touch with the club through The Blues’ kitman, Kev McCormack.
Initially, the family had hoped they would be able to get a signed shirt from the club, which they could auction to help pay for a trip to New York for Beth.
But as the teen became weaker and faced a surge in hospital treatment, hopes of flying to the States were dashed.
When Kyle and Christian heard about her illness they paid her a number of visits in hospital in Southampton and have kept in close contact ever since.
They also took it on themselves to make sure Bethany and her family were given the VIP treatment at luxury Stafford London Hotel, David said.
‘They’ve been amazing with Bethany,’ added the 44-year-old. ‘She and her sister loved London. She said: “Do we have to leave now”. She has just had a great time.’
Beth, a former pupil at Cowplain Community College, is now trying to make as many memories as possible with her parents, Dave and Claire, older brother Jack and younger sister Charlotte.
Although the cancer has left her too weak to walk large distances and unable to travel overseas, she is still determined to see as much of the world as possible.
David said: ‘To see your child go this something as painful as this is hard.
‘When the cancer returned the doctors told us they had never seen anything quite so aggressive to come back after a bone marrow transplant.
‘They have said it’s such an aggressive form that there is nothing they can do. It’s something they cannot cure.’
In spite of the heartbreaking prognosis, David added: ‘Bethany always has a smile on her face, she is a tough cookie. We just want to make as many memories together as we can.’