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Newcastle United Foundation participant given chance to meet Champions League stars before semi-final

Ruby Wilson, a football-mad 10 year-old who was diagnosed with cancer in March and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, was given the chance to virtually meet football superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe prior to tonight’s Champions League semi-final between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.

The Middlesbrough-born youngster, who currently plays for Sunderland Football Club’s Academy, met the Newcastle United Foundation team at the Great North Children’s hospital just before lockdown and having recently been told she may never play football again, the opportunity to meet the Champions League icons has given her a huge boost.

The opportunity was created by the UEFA Foundation for Children and Mastercard who offered four young-people living with disabilities from England, Germany, Italy and Spain, the chance to meet UEFA Champions League legends virtually, hours before the semi-final.

“Wow! I will remember this day for the rest of my life! Thank you!” said Ruby after being told she had been chosen to take part in the activation.

“After the doctor only recently told me that I might not play football ever again, this lifted my spirits so much! I will never forget this day.”

Ruby was chosen by the UEFA Foundation after being put forward by Newcastle United Foundation, Project Officer, Melissa Scott who works with a number of children on the cancer ward at the Great North Children’s Hospital as part of the Foundation’s partnership with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation (SBRF).

With support from SBRF, Melissa works closely with hospital staff to deliver tailored sporting and education activities and programmes as well as working with the siblings and families of the young patients.

“It was an easy decision to put Ruby forward for the opportunity to be a virtual mascot at tonight’s Champions League game,” Melissa said.

“Ruby absolutely loves football and is a bit fed up at the minute after her surgery and being told she might not be able to play football again.

“Hopefully this will cheer her up and I can’t wait to hear all about it.”

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