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Family and friends vow to keep Elliott’s name alive through cancer trust
Thursday 26th January 2017 @ 11:19 by Tom Greggan
Denton & Audenshaw Hyde News

The family and friends of Elliott Fernandez have vowed that they will honour his memory after the Denton teenager sadly lost an 11-month fight with cancer last week.

Elliott and mum, Beverley, at Wembley.

Tributes have poured in for 19-year-old Elliott, who was a huge Manchester City fan and ex-ball boy at the Etihad Stadium. He had fought a near year-long battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma retroperitoneal, a form of soft tissue cancer very rarely found in teenagers.

Elliott’s family and friends were aiming to raise £100k to get him to a clinic in Germany for treatment. The total had surpassed £25k in just four days and donations continue to pour in; the figure currently stands at more than £31k.

Now, they are determined to honour Elliott’s memory by using the money to set up a foundation trust to support others with the disease- something Elliott himself requested.

Elliott’s devastated mother, Beverley Clarke Fernandez, said: “I can’t believe he’s gone. My life will never be the same again. We are going to set up a foundation trust in his name which is what he would have wanted.

“He only wanted to help others in his position so that’s what we want to do with the donations; his dream was to make lots of money for research. His school and friends want to continue their fundraising too.”

At Manchester City’s game against Tottenham on Saturday, Elliott’s friends held a bucket collection in popular supporter’s pub Mary Ds, with £757.94 being collected.

They took to social media on Sunday to pay their tributes. Ellena Walker posted on Facebook: “This day is as sad as it gets, we’ve lost our fighter. But we will still carry on!”

George Donovan, who was a ball boy with Elliott at Man City posted on Instagram: “Absolutely devastated. So many great memories with you on the pitch at City, you are a true hero, a true fighter and a true blue. It’s been so hard seeing you going through what you’ve been through. You didn’t deserve this. You’ll be missed mate.”

His former school, Hyde Community College, held a non-uniform day, cake sale and a staff vs Year 11 football match on Friday, raising £1713.45. The school said Elliott was loved and respected by all and vowed to continue raising money in his memory.

Hyde Community College raised £1,713.45.

“All the staff and students at Hyde Community College are devastated that Elliott lost is brave battle with this cruel disease over the weekend” a statement read. “On Friday, the school went into action to help his family raise the money needed to treat Elliott in Germany. This fundraising will continue and we will support the trust his mother has set up in as many ways we can. Elliott always said that when he made his millions he wanted to help others, his trust will grant that wish.

“Elliott was loved and respected by all of us. He was one of us; Team Hyde as we call it. His friendly, cheeky, refreshing approach to his studies will be remembered by all the staff who taught him or knew him. God bless, Team Hyde.”

A bright future awaited Elliott; he was in the second year of a computer science degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Keith Miller, Head of the School of Computing, Maths and Digital Technology at MMU said: “We are incredibly saddened by the passing of Elliott Fernandez. Elliott was a committed and talented student with a passion for computer science. He had a fantastic desire to learn and was always dedicated to his studies, helping to inspire those around him. He will be sorely missed at the University.”

After initially being diagnosed with cancer in February 2015, Elliott continually astounded his doctors, defying odds that were stacked against him. He contracted tumour lysis after his first round of chemotherapy, leaving him on life support and dialysis. At one point, 6 ft. 2 Elliott weighed just 34kg, his lungs collapsed three times and he was told he’d never walk again. But after six intensive weeks of rehabilitation, Elliott was back on his feet, back in the gym and back studying at university.

Tragically, the cruel disease struck again. Elliott’s condition deteriorated after an operation to insert a shunt in his brain and on January 5th, his parents were given the devastating news that their son had just half an hour to live. Elliott’s strength and determination saw him battle on for more than two weeks.

But his wish to help other cancer sufferers means a planned fundraising event for Elliott at Rosemount Church on Saturday will still go ahead. The event is from 11am-4pm and there will be a bake sale, tombola, face painting and much more. A host of donations have been made for a raffle, with tickets on sale for £2 a strip on the day.