Following a record-breaking charity matchday against Stoke City last month which saw the manager and players donating a day’s wages for the tenth consecutive year, The Arsenal Foundation is delighted to announce its continued support for Bob Wilson’s Willow Foundation with a £180,000 donation.
The money will be paid over three years, helping hundreds more young people living with debilitating degenerative conditions to receive a lifeline from the only national charity which coordinates special days for seriously ill people aged between 16-40.
Since becoming The Arsenal Foundation’s charity partner in 2013, Willow has received more than £150,000 from the Foundation which will be topped up over the next three years with an additional £180,000 to funding more unique special days for young people with conditions such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease, amongst others.
Special days include family breaks, theme park visits, theatre shows, London sightseeing trips and music concerts plus matchday experiences with Arsenal and trips to the Arsenal Training Centre to meet the Arsenal manager and players.
Willow was founded by former goalkeeper Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, in memory of their daughter Anna. Bob is also an Arsenal Foundation Ambassador.
Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s Chief Executive and Foundation Trustee, said: “We’re delighted to provide continued support to Willow. It’s a fantastic charity which is close to the heart of the club and our supporters. Willow’s special days offer great opportunities to create powerful memories in challenging times for sick young people and their families. It’s a privilege to be able to support these moments.”
Bob Wilson said: “This funding from The Arsenal Foundation is crucial in terms of helping us provide these special days for young people. We are delighted to have the club’s support. It makes a big difference in the numbers of people we are able to help.”
The Arsenal Foundation’s donation will support people like Jamie, 17, who is living with muscular dystrophy, meaning he is wheelchair bound. Jamie fulfilled a life-long dream when he visited the Arsenal training ground, meeting many of his heroes and watching them train.
Jamie’s mother, Beth said: “Jamie had the most amazing day of his life. He has been an avid Arsenal supporter since he was a little boy so this day was his dream come true.
Thank you to everyone who made his day so special. Jamie had his shirt signed by every player and a photo. These memories will always stay with us and we are so grateful for the smile you helped put on our son’s face. Such a wonderful charity and we want to raise money to help more families create wonderful memories. The memories of Jamie’s smile will stay with me for the rest of my life.“
Willow not only supports 16 to 40 year olds with degenerative conditions, but all types of life threatening and serious illness including cancer, organ failure, cystic fibrosis, amongst others.
Find out more at willowfoundation.org.uk