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By ESPN Staff
Feb 20, 2009

Capello hails Sir Bobby's brave cancer fight

England manager Fabio Capello paid tribute on Friday to the courage of former national team boss Sir Bobby Robson who has raised more than £1.2million for cancer research while battling the disease for a fifth time.

The pair will meet at the launch of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Research Trials Centre in Newcastle on Friday, a cause picked up by football fans from around the world.

Capello will hand over a £75,000 cheque on behalf of the Football Association in aid of the 76-year-old's foundation, which the ex-England boss has enthusiastically driven on despite being diagnosed with cancer, probably for the last time.

The current England coach said: "Sir Bobby Robson is a football legend not just in England but around the world.

"I have known him for many years from when we both managed in Spain and I am very pleased that the FA is backing The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

"Sir Bobby is a very courageous man and it is an honour to be able to present him with a donation which will help his foundation's important work."

When Sir Bobby received his latest cancer diagnosis in March last year, he set about raising £500,000 to equip a cancer unit after his oncologist spurred him on.

The target was reached in just seven weeks, and the total now stands at more than £1.2million, a figure which has touched football's favourite knight.

He announced that £300,000 of that will be spent on two research posts, funding a doctor and a nurse, at the centre in the Freeman Hospital.

Sir Bobby said: "I'm very grateful to the FA for its extremely generous support and to Fabio for delivering the donation in person.

"I know from experience that he has a very demanding job and for him to take the time to visit us personally speaks volumes about his character.

"This is a particularly proud day for everyone involved in The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

"And by that I don't just mean myself, my wife Lady Elsie and the charity committee and centre staff.

"Every single person who has made a donation to the foundation, sponsored a friend or workmate or organised a fundraising event should be very proud too.

"This new centre is our first major achievement together and it will make a huge difference to the experts who are working hard to find new treatments for cancer.

"And because of the wonderful ongoing efforts being made on behalf of my charity I'm pleased to announce that we've also been able to use £300,000 to fund two very important research posts here too - a doctor and a nurse.

"Both are training roles and a sound investment in the future of cancer research.

"But we don't want to rest on our laurels on Friday.

"This is a wonderful new facility but the patients who come through its doors are at the very front line in the fight against cancer. The best way we can continue to help them is to keep pulling together as a team."

Professor Ruth Plummer, Sir Bobby's oncologist, said: "Last year I asked Sir Bobby if he knew of any people who might like to help us raise the £500,000 we needed to equip this centre.

"In true fashion he did so much more than that by making a personal donation and setting up this charity to help us.

"Incredibly we raised the money required in just seven weeks and because of his commitment, and the fantastic ongoing donations and fundraising efforts, we've also been able to fund a training research nurse post with a special interest in skin cancer and a senior training fellowship doctor.

"The three-year posts will be based in the Cancer Trials Research Centre and will give us even more opportunity to help treat patients and develop our clinical trials and cancer research."

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