Following the success of last year’s campaign, during which fans were introduced to a number of inspirational young people whose lives have been impacted by the Foundation, the new season kicks off with #UnitedandHannah, sharing the story of a 19-year-old powerchair footballer.
Hannah has cerebral palsy and started playing powerchair football in 2012, after her condition left her unable to play on her feet. She recently joined the newly-formed Manchester United Powerchair Team, launched in partnership with the pre-existing Sale United club.
“My favourite thing about powerchair football is just being able to play football on a level playing field where disability isn’t a barrier,” says Hannah. “I am currently the only girl in my club but I get no special treatment – other teams used to think I was an easy target, but they soon learnt looks can be deceiving!”
Powerchair football consists of a team of four players using specialised electric wheelchairs with a large front bumper to control and hit an oversized, heavy football to score goals. The sport is rapidly rising in popularity, credited to the fact it offers opportunities for all abilities.
Through Manchester United Foundation, Hannah and her team have received various experiences. They were invited to the recent legends match between Manchester United and Barcelona Legends, and they even had a special guest join them for training one day: first-team defender Eric Bailly.
“It was great to meet Bailly,” Hannah says. “It was really entertaining to see a top class player trying to control the powerchair!”
“Being part of the club has really helped me in many ways,” she continues. “I have gained more wheelchair control, which I am able to use in everyday situations, and I have more confidence in my own abilities. I have learnt to be part of a team and have made friends with people who have similar disabilities and of a similar age who have the same interests and enjoy nights out.
“I’m a normal 19-year-old girl; I just want to be the best I can be.”
You can find out more about #UnitedandMe by following Manchester United Foundation on social media and looking out for the hashtag or at www.mufoundation.org/UnitedandMe