Raymond Sees His First Live Match Thanks To Sports Connections Foundation!
Updated: Feb 26
Sports Connections Foundation were able to start the new month by granting our latest Sporting Wish to 10 year old Raymond who not only got to watch the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley but was able to do so whilst celebrating his Grandpa's birthday with him!
Raymond is from Peterborough and in May last year was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (a tumour behind his nose running down into the lymph nodes in his neck) after suffering from numerous bouts of tonsillitis and nasal congestion. In the past year he has had to undergo rounds of intense chemotherapy, which made him very poorly, and has also travelled out to Germany for numerous radiation therapies and is currently halfway through his maintenance chemotherapy, which I’m glad to say has stabilised his condition and started to bring back his strength and taste.
As I’m sure you can all imagine it’s been a very tough year for Raymond as he hasn’t been able to go to school with his friends, hasn’t been able to play football, and has had to live away from home to receive his treatments. Whilst not having a particular team that he follows Raymond is a huge football fan who had never been to a live match before so we thought what better way to introduce him to the world of football than to be taken to an FA Cup Semi-Final between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium?!
Raymond and Grandpa (Paul) were picked up and driven down to Wembley where they met Charity Champion Gareth for some pre-match food at the Hilton Hotel before heading in to the stadium, not a bad way for Paul to celebrate his 63rd birthday!
Manchester City went in to this game knowing that they still had the possibility of winning the quadruple this season, something no English team has ever accomplished in a single season, but they had a resilient Brighton and Hove Albion team to get past to keep this dream alive! Brighton are a team close to the hearts of SCF as Charity Director Junior McDougald played (and scored) for them between 1994 and 1996 so for them to be playing arguably the best English team we have seen in recent memory was a fantastic first match for Raymond to attend.
The game sprung in to life very quickly with Man City taking the lead after just 4 minutes thanks to a header from Gabriel Jesus. Whilst Man City weren't at their best during the game they kept Brighton at bay and other than a goal line clearance needing to be made by Aymeric Laporte at the start of the second half they prevented Brighton making any clear cut chances, winning the game 1-0 and booking their place in the final on 18th May.
The game was not without controversy however as Man City defender Kyle Walker and Brighton midfielder Alireza Jahanbaksh clashed after a challenge, Walker appeared to thrust his head at Jahanbaksh and whilst the referee did go to VAR (video assistant referee) to see if it was a red card offence, it was decided it wasn't. Brighton played valiantly but sadly lacked the killer finish in the final third but to only lose to this Man City team by one goal is not to be scoffed at, in fact only 8 teams have managed to do so this season across all competitions! We later heard from Rachel, Raymond's mum, who told us he had enjoyed his first football match and that he enjoyed being able to choose exactly what he wanted the chef to cook for him, which was a burger and fries, before the game!
He enjoyed the game and has not taken his scarf off!! - Rachel (Raymond's Mum)
It is always a pleasure hearing about the success of our Sporting Wishes and Raymond's was no different. I would like to say thank you to everyone at Wembley Stadium, Wembley Hilton, our Chauffeur and Charity Champion Gareth for helping make the day extremely special for a very brave young man! I'd also like to thank those of you that helped make the day possible, we are so grateful for your continued support which allows us to grant Wishes such as these to very deserving boys and girls, creating long lasting happy memories for the whole family!
We've got lots of news coming before the end of April so keep a look out for updates very soon!