Teenage Scarborough rugby player Tiernan Ingham raises nearly £10,000 for charity as he battles leukaemia

A young Scarborough rugby player with leukaemia has been receiving get well messages from some of his sporting heroes.

Tiernan (centre) with his brother Caelan and sister Caitlyn.
Tiernan (centre) with his brother Caelan and sister Caitlyn.

Tiernan Ingham, who plays for Scarborough Rugby Union Club’s Under 14s team, is at the beginning of three years of chemotherapy after being diagnosed at the end of March.

Friends of the 13-year-old from Muston, near Filey, have been arranging for rugby union greats including England’s Sam Underhill and James Haskell to send Tiernan messages.

The St Augustine’s School student has also started fundraising for four cancer charities - and has already collected nearly £10,000.

Tiernan on the rugby pitch.

His dad Nick, who is a former Scarborough RUFC captain and now Assistant Director of Rugby there and well as Under 14s coach, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received. The fundraising has given Tiernan something to focus on. “

Tiernan - who has been playing rugby since he was four and was picked for Yorkshire’s England Rugby Developing Player Programme - was fit and healthy until he started suffering from tiredness, aches and pains just a few weeks ago.

After tests, doctors delivered the devastating news that he had leukaemia.

“It’s a cliché, but you never think it’s going to happen to your child,” said Nick.

Tiernan with his dad Nick, mum Christine and sister Caitlyn.

Within 48 hours of the diagnosis, Tiernan was at Leeds Children’s Hospital starting chemotherapy.

His admission came just a few days before the coronavirus restrictions put a stop to hospital visitors, meaning only his mum Christine could be by his bedside.

Nick had to drop clothes off and speak to his son briefly from the doorway, while his 12-year-old sister Caitlyn and seven-year-old brother Caelan were unable to see him at all.

Nick praised the hospital staff, saying their care had been “incredible”.

Now Tiernan is home, the family are doing more fund raising for his chosen charities - Clic Sargent, Candlelighters, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group.

Nick and Christine are well known in the area as they used to own Compass Fitness in Barry’s Lane.

Nick, who also helps run Filey Sea Cadets, is a project manager while Christine runs The Boat Shed in Filey.

“We’ve been amazed by Tiernan’s bravery and maturity,” said Nick.

“He’s taking each day as it comes. He’s been so pragmatic - for a 13-year-old it’s incredible.”

To donate to Tiernan’s fund visit www.justgiving.com/team/teamtiernan.

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