West Ham Women captain Gilly Flaherty surprises breast cancer fundraiser Siobhan McKeon
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 November 2020
When Siobhan McKeon opened her front door on Wednesday afternoon, the last thing she expected was to come face-to-face with West Ham United women’s captain Gilly Flaherty.
Siobhan, a lifelong West Ham supporter, was anticipating the delivery of a Breast Cancer Now pink shirt, signed by men’s forward Michail Antonio, having won the limited-edition prize in a West Ham United women’s social media competition in support of Wear it Pink Day.
In April 2016, Siobhan was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, meaning the cancer had already spread into her bones. Sadly, Siobhan will never be cured of her condition.
Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Siobhan has raised funds for future research by swimming the equivalent of the length of the English Channel at her local swimming pool
When captain Flaherty heard about Siobhan’s personal battles with breast cancer, as well as the lengths she has gone to in order to raise further awareness, the Hammers defender wanted to do something a little extra special.
The women’s skipper decided to drop off the signed Michail Antonio shirt personally, as well as taking a signed shirt from the entire women’s team and bags of West Ham United goodies for Siobhan’s two sons.
“I was really shocked when I opened the door,” Siobhan told West Ham TV. “I honestly couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting it at all.
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“I am just so humbled, honestly. I am really touched. I couldn’t believe it when Gilly responded to me on Twitter anyway and this is just extra special because West Ham means everything to us. Our whole life revolves around West Ham.”
Captain Flaherty was delighted to meet Siobhan and speak with her and son Jayden, and was impressed with Siobhan’s efforts to continue to raise awareness of breast cancer while battling the disease herself.
“It’s so heart-warming to come and meet Siobhan,” Flaherty said. “She was completely in shock! With what she’s going through, it’s amazing to be able to come and do something for someone like her.
“It puts things into perspective. Even just speaking to her for ten minutes, you can see how bubbly and positive she is. With what she’s going through, but for her to go out there and to be thinking of others with her swimming when, if it was the other way around, someone else might not think of doing that.
“Her attitude is to go and raise some money. It’s brilliant and she’s a lovely woman. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, things in the world will calm down and we’ll be able to welcome Siobhan and her family down to one of our games and she can meet the entire team. “
Having set a goal of £2,000 on her GoFundMe for her swimming efforts, Siobhan was able to hit her target earlier this week.
Son Jayden could not hide his pride at his mum’s fundraising efforts.
“I’m very proud of mum,” he said. “When I first found out she had cancer, I was scared because I didn’t know what would happen. But I think she has come really far, and I’m really proud of that.”
Siobhan is raising money in support of Breast Cancer Research Aid with a sponsored swim. To find out more information about Siobhan’s efforts, please visit her GoFundMe page here.
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