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Special experience for wish families from the Football Association and Make-A-Wish UK
Posted on 24th Apr 2023
“This means more to me than you’ll ever know.”
Make-A-Wish UK and the Football Association surprise children with unique Wembley experience
Two children who have been living with critical illness had the opportunity of a lifetime when they were invited to be the first ever people to watch an England football game from the comfort of Wembley Stadium’s new Community Box.
As well as the Community Box, which is a new space the FA is offering to select community groups and charities across the UK, they were granted a behind-the-scenes Wembley Stadium tour as part of a unique experience by Make-A-Wish UK and the Football Association.
The children, Kendre Johnson (10) Jason Kane (7), were ecstatic to explore the iconic world sports venue. With the help of their own personal tour guide, the children and their families got to see the players' tunnel, the changing rooms, the press conference room and even got to hold the hallowed FA Cup and Community Shield.
They also got to learn about the history of the stadium and hear behind-the-scenes stories about some of the most memorable events that have taken place there. The children and their families all agreed that it was an unforgettable experience.
Kendre’s mum, Georgina, said: “Football means a lot to me and my family. It’s brought my son a lot of confidence and help him overcome a lot of his adversities. I reached out to Make-A-Wish and they wanted as much as I did, to give him something which is specifically for him and to show he’s worthy of being here. That means more to me than you’ll ever know.”
As part of his wish experience, Jason was joined by 11-year-old Bobby Lynch from North London at England’s Euro 2024 qualifier where they beat Ukraine 2-0 and got to witness Harry Kane’s record breaking 54th goal for his country.
Jason’s dad, also called Jason, said: “Harry Kane is Jason’s idol and he watched him all the way through his treatment. To watch him from an exclusive box and score a goal is something he'll never forget. Football is everything to us so we couldn’t have dreamed of a better day to spend together as a family.”
Make-A-Wish UK grant life-changing wishes to children living with critical illnesses by empowering a child with the chance to choose a wish that's unique to them, to create hope, happiness and memories for the whole family to cherish.
Georgina added: “If I could speak to the people who have donated to Make-A-Wish to make this happen I don’t think thank you will ever be enough. To be able to give these children a lasting memory, to show that they’re appreciated, worthy and listened to is incredible – thank you so much for making their dreams come true.”
Saira Mirza, CSR Manager at The FA said: “We are committed to making football accessible to all. We realise that, for a variety of reasons, not everyone has the chance or opportunity to come and watch a major football event at the nation’s home stadium.
“The new box gives us the opportunity to open up the game to more and more people and give something back to the community around us.
“We were delighted to help make this special experience possible for the group of wish children who attended the England v Ukraine game recently and look forward to welcoming more charities and communities into Wembley in the future.”
To help support Make-A-Wish UK make more magical wishes come true for the 63,000* children who have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, please visit make-a-wish.org.uk.
*The report “Estimating Current and Future Prevalence of Children and Young People who would be eligible for the Make-A-Wish Foundation” was published in November 2020 with research by Deborah Gibson-Smith, Stuart Jarvis & Lorna Fraser from the Department of Health Sciences, University of York & by Paul Norman from the School of Geography, University of Leeds.
About the FA’s new Community Box
The FA has converted one of the private boxes at Wembley Stadium into a new space for community groups and charities across the UK.
The 12-seater box will be offered, free of charge, to groups for a selection of events held at the stadium throughout 2023. The dream day out includes complimentary hospitality (food and drink) and full access to the box two hours before event start, so guests can truly enjoy the ultimate experience.
The box will be available for four more events this season. They are
- 27th May – EFL Championship Play Off
- 3rd June – FA Cup Final
If you are part of a community group or charity who would like to be considered for one of the upcoming events at Wembley Stadium then email [email protected]. Include a short overview about why your group should be chosen. Please note terms and conditions do apply.
Make-A-Wish UK Communications
Make-A-Wish UK, 7th Floor, Thames Tower, Station Road, Reading, RG1 1LX
For images or video footage to support this story, please contact [email protected]
About Make-A-Wish UK
Every day, the lives of 10 families in the UK are changed forever when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. From that moment, childhood takes a backseat to medical appointments and worry. A wish helps to restore that childhood and puts worry on the backseat. It provides an opportunity to choose something positive to look forward to and the chance to be a child first and a patient second.
Make-A-Wish UK is a registered charity that was established in the UK in 1986 to support children and young people diagnosed with a serious illness or life-limiting condition, by granting them their dearest wish. The charity receives no Government funding - registered charity numbers: 295672 in England and Wales, SC037479 in Scotland.
Notes to editors
We do not use the phrase ‘terminally ill’ and ask that you follow suit because some poorly children and young people are not made aware of the exact nature of their diagnosis and we respect their family’s approach to their situation. Some also recover fully from their illness.
Please refer to us as Make-A-Wish® UK in the first instance to distinguish us from affiliates in other countries. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ is suitable.
Please hyperlink to our website (https://www.make-a-wish.org.uk) when you mention Make-A-Wish online.
You can also find us on social media @makeawishuk