Travelling from as near as Salford and as far as Stockholm, the thirteen Manchester United fans forgot all about the serious illnesses and health problems they are battling with for this special day and couldn’t wait to meet the players.
The youngest fan on the day was also the one who travelled the furthest to attend the Dream Day. Nine-year-old Metin Kestin from Stockholm, Sweden was especially excited about meeting his idol, Nani and he even brought the star a present. Nani was very touched to receive the gift – a black t-shirt with Metin’s name on the back and Nani’s number 17 – and happily posed for photographs with Metin and his brother.
Fourteen-year-old twins, Jasmine and Reece Woods travelled from Lincolnshire with their parents and were most excited about meeting Wayne Rooney, whilst ten year old Javed Hussain from London couldn’t wait to meet his idol, Rio Ferdinand. Javed therefore couldn’t believe his luck when Rio asked if he and the twins would join him in a photograph to be uploaded onto his Twitter account.
Fifteen-year-old Ronak, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, travelled from London for the event. His parents organised the day through the Promise Dreams Foundation but didn’t tell Ronak until the night before. They told him the trip to Manchester was for a family wedding and on hearing the truth, Ronak exclaimed, ‘This is the best wedding I’ve ever been to!’ before logging on to Facebook to brag to his friends!
Although Ronak’s school is right next door to Tottenham Hotspur’s ground he has always supported United as his dad is also a big fan – he even has a personalised number plate for his wheelchair, ‘M4N U’. Although suffering from the life-limiting disease, Ronak enjoys playing football games on his PlayStation with his favourite being online FIFA, through which he can keep in touch and play against friends who don’t live close by.
Ronak commented, ‘I’m most looking forward to meeting Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs – in that order!’ It was therefore a dream come true when Ronak was able to pose for pictures with his heroes who happily signed the shirt he had brought along. When asked what he would say to his idol, Sir Alex, Ronak replied, ‘I’ll tell him I want his job!’
After meeting the fans, midfielder Michael Carrick commented, ‘We hope to make it a day to remember for the kids and make sure they have a good time. When they come here and watch us train their faces just light up; to see how they react you can only imagine what they are going through. It’s quite humbling and it’s a pleasure for us to be able to help in some way.’
Dream Days take place every season and are organised in association with ‘wish’ charities across the country: The Willow Foundation, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Promise Dreams, Make a Wish Foundation, Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, Dreams Come True and Muscle Dreams. These charities specialise in granting wishes to seriously and terminally ill children and adults.