Gary Lineker 'heartbroken' over BBC report on Ukraine's child cancer patients

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Gary Lineker attends the Sun's Who Cares Wins Awards 2021 at The Roundhouse on September 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Gary Lineker supports many cancer charities. (Samir Hussein/WireImage) (Samir Hussein via Getty Images)

Gary Lineker has shared his heartbreak over a difficult-to-watch BBC report about Ukrainian child cancer patients forced to flee their home country.

The former footballer's own eldest son, George, was treated for leukaemia as a baby in 1991 and Lineker has since supported many cancer charities, including children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

He was one of many viewers moved by Sunday night's BBC News report into the desperate situation facing children caught up in the conflict with Russia.

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Lineker, 61, shared a clip of BBC journalist Mark Lowen's report from Poland, where Ukrainian children had been moved to in hopes of continuing their cancer treatment, captioning it "Utterly heartbreaking".

The clip had already been tweeted by Lowen, who wrote: "This one broke our hearts: Ukrainian children cancer patients fleeing their hospitals and evacuated to Poland. Vital chemotherapy broken off by Russia's bombs. It is unspeakably cruel. Our latest for #BBCNewsTen with @FrancescoTosto6 @MichaSteininger and Dominika Zurawska."

It told the story of seriously ill young patients who had been sent to a hotel in Poland where one doctor was tasked with deciding which of them needed to be moved immediately to hospitals in Poland and Germany.

One boy told the camera crew that he missed his grandparents but was glad not to have to run to bomb shelters as they had done in Ukraine, describing it as "scary and hard".

TURIN, ITALY - MARCH 05: Ukrainian children with cancer and their families arrive by ambulance at the Regina Margherita Children's Hospital on March 05, 2022 in Turin, Italy. 13 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families arrived by ambulance at the Regina Margherita Children's Hospital in Turin after being rescued by a humanitarian mission organized by the Piedmont Region where they will be able to resume treatment interrupted due to the bombings. The children from Ukraine arrived at the airport of Iasi, in Romania, aboard a bus provided by the Piedmont Region, and then they left for Italy.  On February 24, 2022 Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)
Young cancer patients have also been evacuated to Turin in Italy. (Stefano Guidi/Getty Images) (Stefano Guidi via Getty Images)

A mother of another patient said: "Our hearts are tearing from pain. My son always says he's fine, but we need to continue his treatment."

Other viewers were hugely affected by the report too as one person tweeted: "Utterly heartbreaking. Does anyone know the details of this hospital? I would like to raise money and help these poor children and their families."

Read more: Ukrainian evacuation routes from Kyiv take civilians 'straight into arms of Russians'

Someone else wrote: "I felt horror and heartbreak for these children and also empathy with the team reporting this, who must feel powerless..."

Another person added: "This is just awful. The horror of being told your child has cancer is distressing enough but imagine not being able to treat them."

The burnt out remains of a building destroyed by Russian army shelling in the second largest Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, in the east of the country on March 6, 2022. - On the eleventh day of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on March 6, 2022, Russian forces pressed a siege of the key southern port of Mariupol and destroyed an airport in the west of the country. The Ukrainian capital Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control as does Kharkiv in the east, with the overall picture of the Russian ground advance little changed over the last 24 hours in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance. (Photo by Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainians have been trying to leave their under-fire homes for safety in neighbouring countries. (Sergey BOBOK / AFP) (SERGEY BOBOK via Getty Images)

Sunday's BBC News at 10 also included a disturbing report of Ukraine civilians, including children, elderly and disabled people, trying to leave their home town as they were fired at, with one family killed.

One viewer tweeted: "Tonight’s @BBCNews at 10 was truly horrific. What’s happening is hard to imagine and huge credit to all reporting for sharing the stories of the civilians - the images of the family killed tonight won’t leave me. It’s horrendous and hideous."

Read more: Russia 'bombing TV towers' to cut Ukrainians off from internet and vital broadcasts

Someone else agreed: "Watching @BBCNews at 10 and I honestly don't know what to say, utterly heartbreaking."

Another person wrote: "@BBCNews @ 10 tonight @BBCOne from #Ukraine️ was the most distressing, gut wrenching 30 minutes of tv news I've ever watched. Terrible stories, sensitively told by @BowenBBC @marklowen @sarahrainsford @reetacbbc @thehuwedwards As @marklowen said: "One man's war..." No words."

Watch: Retired UK firefighter flies out to Ukraine to help