The match was used to highlight the Foundation's work in the community and our special guests certainly brought the team some luck whilst they took in the Old Trafford atmosphere, as Manchester United secured three vital points with a thrilling 4-0 victory.
All the individuals who attended have shared their unique and inspiring stories for our 2011 Impact Report, including the family of Neal Wood who travelled from the West Midlands to enjoy the game. Neal was a fanatical United supporter who tragically lost his fight with Leukaemia in 2009. During his illness, he had attended one of the Foundation's Dream Days and since his death, his family have taken part in the annual Santa Run each year in his memory.
Lynn Wood, Neal’s mother said: “Manchester United and the Foundation supported Neal through his illness and made his dreams come true in meeting his heroes. They have continued to support us since and for us to be guests at the match was an honour and privilege that we will never forget.”
“We’ve had an amazing time at the match," she added, "it was really special way for us to remember Neal. He would be so chuffed by the story about him in the Impact Report. Thank you to all at the Foundation who made this possible.”
Eight year-old Miah Lumley also attended the game. Miah met striker Michael Owen in hospital when she was recovering from extensive facial surgery after being mauled by a dog. Caroline Maddock (Miah’s mum) said: “Miah was so looking forward to today and she’s loved every minute.”
At the match, the Foundation promoted its ‘Text to Donate’ service and asking people to text “BELIEVE” to 70777 to donate just £3* and help make a difference to the lives of the people we work with.
The Foundation also linked up with Level Playing Field, an organisation that represents disabled fans of all sports, to promote the Club’s support of equality between disabled and non-disabled supporters. To highlight this, representatives from Manchester United’s U14s Ability Counts disability football team took to the pitch at half-time to play a mini 4v4 game.
The 2011 Impact Report includes many moving stories like Miah and Neal's. It also highlights how the Foundation is working to address some of the real issues that are affecting the youth of Greater Manchester with projects that: aim to get young people into work at a time when youth unemployment is at an all-time high, improve health and fitness in an environment where childhood obesity continues to rise, and combat crime and anti-social behaviour.
*Texts cost £3 plus your standard network message charge.
100% of the donation goes to the MU Foundation.