Published by Helen Buckingham in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo on Tuesday 24 April 2012 SAINTS’
rugby star Soane Tonga’uiha has donated £1,000 to the family of a nine-year-old girl with a life-threatening brain tumour.
Milly Adkins, from Daventry, had surgery in Oxford last month aimed at reducing the size of a tumour with which she was diagnosed in 2007, and which had grown so large it posed an immediate threat to her life.
However the surgery was not successful and, having been told further operations would not provide a cure and would not give Milly a good quality of life, her family has made the difficult decision not to proceed with further interventions.
But 6ft 3in father-of-four Mr Tonga’uiha – who is nicknamed Tiny by fans – donated £1,000, raised from his testimonial year, to the family at Franklin’s Gardens yesterday, after reading about their story in the Chronicle & Echo.
He also took Milly and her three-year-old brother, Max, on a tour of the ground, including areas normally closed off to the public, such as the changing rooms, players’ recreation room and gym.
He said: “My wife and I saw the story in the paper and a few of the Saints boys mentioned it, either through Twitter or Facebook or in the changing rooms, so we looked at the family’s website to find out a bit more information.
“It’s obviously a very sad story. It’s something we wouldn’t wish on anyone. We just can’t imagine what Milly’s parents are going through.
“It was an easy decision for us to help them out in some way.”
Milly’s mother Alex said the money would be used to purchase a trailer tent so the family could enjoy short breaks away as respite from Milly’s condition.
She said: “Tiny’s generosity has been completely overwhelming. We can’t thank him enough. We are so grateful. Donations like this mean so much to us.”
Mrs Adkins thanked everyone who had given donations to the family so far.
She said: “From a mother to anyone out there who has donated or helped or sent messages of support, we can’t thank you enough.
“It’s a strange place to be in to ask so publicly, but the response has been overwhelming. It’s helped so much. Thank you.”
Fund-raisers have pledged to continue to support Milly and her family.
The next few months will be hard for them in many ways, and all the money raised will help them cope with Milly’s developing needs, as well as continue to enable them to spend quality time together.
Anyone who wishes to help the family can call Northampton 585810, email firstname.lastname@example.org where they can donate to the family.
The family has asked anyone who meets Milly to be discrete, and to avoid saying anything in her presence about her situation, in case it frightens her.