Former Manchester City ball boy battling cancer dies days after appeal launch

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A former Manchester City ball boy battling a rare form of cancer has died just days after a fundraising appeal for life-saving treatment was launched.

Elliot Fernandez, 19, from Denton, Greater Manchester was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of soft tissue cancer in February last year.

Announcing the news on a fundraising page set up to help cover the costs of treatment in Germany, his mother Beverley Clarke Fernandez said her heart is "shattered".

Her only child, who she had through IVF, Ms Clarke Fernandez posted on the donation site: "With a heart shattered into a million pieces my very own true warrior passed away this morning.

"It was my own absolute privilege to be chosen as his mum he was my entire world and always will be."

The teenager was a ball boy at Manchester City for nine years and placed the ball on the corner spot which led to Edin Dzeko's injury-time equaliser in the dramatic 2012 Premier League title-clinching 3-2 victory.

Last year, he met his idol Sergio Aguero, who went on to score the winner in the above match, and also boss Pep Guardiola who spoke to him about his days as a ball boy at Barcelona.

The club joined tributes being paid to the teenager, a post on Twitter read: "Everyone at #mcfc is saddened to learn of the passing of Elliot Fernandez. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Suffering a massive bleed on the brain after his first chemotherapy dose, Mr Fernandez underwent emergency surgery which left him on life support and dialysis.

He defied doctors and learnt to eat and walk again, but over Christmas and New Year he ended up in hospital after suffering from a build-up of fluid on the brain.

With cancer on his liver and spine, and with no option for further chemotherapy, doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do.

But with a clinic in Germany willing to treat him, Ms Clarke Fernandez launched a fundraising appeal in a bid to give him the "chance to realise all the dreams he has".

In just five days, more than £30,000 was raised - following his death, his family have pledged that this cash will now be used to set up a trust fund in his name.

Ms Clarke Fernandez said: "We are going to do what Elliot would have wanted to do with your donations and set up a trust fund in his name for research into this horrible, evil disease.

"That was what he wanted, to help others and if we can save just one life then he would have been elated.

"If one child can be saved by raising awareness if this rare cancer then he would be happy. Thanks to everyone from the bottom of our hearts. True blue hero."

To make a donation visit www.gofundme.com/mancity-ballboy-elliott-fernandez