Wonga Make Mascot’s Dream Come True
Club sponsor, Wonga, named a special boy as their mascot for the Barclay’s Premier League fixture against Queens Park Rangers last Saturday.
Jack Buttitta, aged 6 from Lemington, is a trialist at Newcastle United Foundation’s Advanced Coaching School. An incredible achievement, much to the shock and surprise of his parents, when they feared he may never walk again.
Jack has been a loyal Newcastle United fan all his life and has always wanted to meet his heroes. When Newcastle United Foundation heard about Jack’s bravery, they chose him to receive the special reward from Wonga meet and greet the players before kick-off.
When Jack was just three years old, he contracted an infection called Guillain-Barrésyndrome – a serious condition which attacks the peripheral nervous system. Long term complications of this condition can cause life changing problems such as muscle weakness and losing the ability the walk unaided.
Jack spent 28 weeks in hospital recovering from the infection, but due to his love of football, he fought back from the illness and after one and a half years suffering, he was able to start walking again and enjoying being a 4 year old boy.
Peter Jackson, Area Development Officer for the Foundation and Jack’s coach said:
“It is amazing how far he has progressed. When I had been told of Jack’s previous illness, I was shocked to learn how much he had overcome at such a young age. It’s a privilege to be able to put his name forward for our Advanced Coaching School, and also to play a part in allowing him to achieve his mascot dream.”
Dad, Mark Buttitta, recalls the moment he received the news from the Foundation:
“Myself and Jack’s Mum were completely taken back by such a fantastic offer. Jack has not only been able to play football for the team he loves, but running on at St James’ Park during a huge game with QPR was a dream come true for him and the family.”
“We thank Newcastle United Foundation for not only rewarding Jack but also allowing his Mum and Dad to see such a great day, Jack has fully recovered from his illness and now can tell everyone he played such an important role last weekend during the great win over QPR.”
“All of us were looked after from start to finish. Meeting the players was Jack’s dream and running out in front of the 51,000 fans was one of the best days of our lives- Jacks Mum couldn’t stop crying until half time!”