Football stars to play charity game for Saints academy player

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Then the unthinkable happened. Keanu was diagnosed with leukemia.

Now, two years later, he’s championing the cause to raise money for others who have suffered like him.

Called #KickItWithKeanu, the 14-year-old has assembled a team of former Southampton FC and Premier League stars, mixed with Southampton FC Academy players, to raise money for or Children’s Cancer Charities.

Mountbatten School pupil Keanu Black was just 12 when he was taken to hospital.

Her father, James Black, described the diagnosis as a “huge shock”.

Keanu had to undergo four bouts of chemotherapy, 60 blood transfusions and more than 100 injections to recover.

The Southampton FC goalkeeper was just two days away from signing a new contract with the club he supports, but had to stop playing as he began treatment.

During his treatment, shirts were sent by several footballers in order to boost Keanu’s spirits.

This included the signings of Mason Mount from Chelsea, Everton goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford and Raheem Sterling from Man City.

During Southampton’s home game against Manchester City, a message reading “Get well soon” was shown on the screen at St Mary’s, James-Ward Prowse and Danny Ings visited the home and manager Ralf Hassenhuttl also signed a warm-up shirt for him.

Messages were sent by Keanu’s teammates with Dutch football legend Marco Van Basten even sending a picture of him holding a ‘Stay Strong’ message.

“He was very ill and it’s probably not until he’s finished a few months of treatment and he may have started to feel a little better until then, you really appreciate the messages coming through,” said James.

James added: “It’s fantastic, it’s something I wasn’t sure would happen, so to see him kicking a ball in training and in games.

“It opens your eyes to how lucky you are. As a parent you focus too much on the child and where they’re going to end up when in fact you probably need to enjoy a bit more. from here and now.”

The game will feature a team from Nursling FC Vets & Friends at Silverlake Stadium on Friday, May 20 at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for children and are available at www.eastleighfc.ticketco.events/uk/en/e/kickitwithkeanu.

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