Kilburn dad organises charity football game for seriously ill son

Thomas Jackson with his son Jack, 4.
Thomas Jackson with his son Jack, 4.

A young father from Kilburn whose four-year-old son is seriously ill is organising a charity football game to help provide his son with everything he needs.

Thomas Jackson found out his son Jack had a brain tumour in November last year and has since helped him though scans, surgery, and weekly chemotherapy at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Jack Riley, 4, has a brain tumour.

Jack Riley, 4, has a brain tumour.

And now he wants to go one stage further by leading out a team of his friends to take on his Kilburn FC teammates on Sunday at 2pm at Kilburn Miners’ Welfare - all for Jack.

Thomas, 25, said: “We thought it was just an eye problem at first - we never thought something like this could happen.

“I am still young and I have been off work for quite a long time so I will find it difficult to afford everything he might need in the years to come.

“We are doing the charity game to raise money for a trust fund for him and also to raise awareness of conditions like this as well.

Thomas' team, Kilburn FC.

Thomas' team, Kilburn FC.

“Jack is just a typical four-year-old boy so he tries to do everything that a little kid would do.

“But unfortunately he gets tired quickly because of the treatment so he can’t and that’s hard to see.”

Thomas works in retail at the moment but is also qualified personal trainer.

Jack currently lives with his mother in Allestree in Derby. Thomas is not in a relationship with her anymore but they remain close.

Thomas says Jack is just a typical 4-year-old boy.

Thomas says Jack is just a typical 4-year-old boy.

He says that while he initially found the news difficult to deal with, the support of his manager and teammates at Kilburn FC made a big difference.

“I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone initially and tried to keep things close to my chest,” he said.

“But after we started raising money everyone has been great with lots of them filling sponsorship forms in and things like that.

Thomas says it was manager Matt McGill whose idea it was after they had a chat about on field issues.

Jack enjoying the great outdoors.

Jack enjoying the great outdoors.

“I got a bit stressed with it all and that came out a bit when I was playing but we had a chat and he offered to help us organise this game.”

Thomas says they are expecting a ‘high attendance’ on the day of the game to build on the £1,000 they have already raised for Jack’s fund.

“We’ve been through a lot...”

Thomas says that since the diagnosis, the family have ‘been through a lot’.

“Initially he had a bit of a squint in his eye which we thought could be fixed quite easily,” he said.

“But we decided to have an MRI scan and unfortunately found out he had a tumour in his brain. It didn’t kick in for a couple of days - initially I don’t think anyone understood the reality of the situation but then over time it became clear how big it was.”

Thomas says his son is now on the mend ‘to an extent’ and has recently had some minor surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

But he says Jack’s chemotherapy will certainly last until the New Year and possibly longer.

“The doctors say that the tumour can never be fully removed due to where it is so they will just have to concentrate on shrinking it as much as possible.

“After that it will be observed every six months so it’s something that will be with him for the rest of his life.”