Gone but never forgotten Isla Caton the real West Ham hero as Hammers pay tribute following the tragic passing of brave young fan.
Here at Hammers News we were – like the entire West Ham family – devastated to learn of young Isla’s passing in the early hours of this morning.
Isla’s story and her brave fight against childhood cancer has been well publicised over recent years.
The young West Ham fan was just seven but had battled cancer for five years of her little life having been diagnosed with the rare neuroblastoma aged only two.
Isla’s fight saw her taken into the hearts of not only West Ham fans but supporters of football clubs across the world.
Her parents Nicola and Michael even noted how Isla’s battle had crossed fierce divides with support coming from the likes of Millwall too such was the depth of feeling.
David Moyes has worked wonders at West Ham over the last two years giving fans some unforgettable memories.
His Hammers have been hailed as heroes.
But Isla was the real hero, bravely battling against the odds for so much of her young life.
Isla will forever be an inspiration to us all and her legacy will be the huge amount of awareness she and her family and friends helped raise around this awful and rare disease.
Tributes have been flooding in across social media from West Ham players, supporters and from all corners of the globe today.
Now West Ham have paid their own tribute to Isla which you can read below and on the club’s website.
“The deepest sympathies of everybody at the Club are with Isla’s parents Nicola and Michael and her wider family and friends at this saddest of times,” West Ham said in a their tribute.
“Born into a West Ham-supporting family in Hornchurch, Essex, Isla’s courageous fight against the illness caught the imagination of the Claret and Blue Army, who raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help fund treatment for her in both the UK and Spain.
“After falling ill at the age of two, Isla was initially treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. She then moved with her parents to Barcelona in Spain, where the family lived for two years while she underwent pioneering treatment, and also received a surprise visit in hospital from Hammers captain Mark Noble and his team-mate Robert Snodgrass.
“The courageous toddler underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy and major surgeries to remove a tumour from her stomach, bone marrow aspiration, MIBG therapy, immunotherapy, blood transfusions and a stem cell transplant, all though which she retained an amazing positivity that inspired those around her.
“That Isla was able to receive the best treatment was down to the unrelenting dedication and love of her mother Nicola, who launched a fundraising campaign in May 2017 that caught the imagination of not just the West Ham family, but the wider football world.
“In March 2019, it was announced that Isla was cancer-free, but sadly the disease returned and sadly, in December 2021, Nicola and Michael were told that Isla’s treatment was no longer effective and she would have just a few weeks to live. At 3.15am on 25 January 2022, she passed away peacefully surrounded by those who loved her.
“Fans of clubs up and down the country donated to and showed their incredible support for Isla’s fight, as did well-known figures from the world of sport and entertainment, including dozens of former players, West Ham-supporting broadcaster Ben Shephard and rapper Guvna B, and world champion boxer Tyson Fury.
“An online JustGiving page and bucket collections held outside London Stadium and away grounds also raised vital funds and awareness, first for Isla’s treatment and latterly to give her unforgettable experiences in her final weeks.
“West Ham United maintained close contact with Nicola throughout, with Joint-Chairman David Sullivan and shareholder Daniel Křetínský making donations to her fund and both players and staff keeping in regular touch with Nicola. In December, she was named in West Ham’s squad for the Premier League fixture with Southampton on Boxing Day, wearing the No12 shirt.
“Sadly, just a few weeks on, Isla’s fight has come to an end, but her memory and legacy will live on forever.
“Rest in peace, Isla.”
Hammers News sends its deepest sympathy to all those who had the pleasure of knowing this little West Ham hero.
Gone but never forgotten. RIP Isla.