‘It was the best experience of my life’
Those were the heartfelt words of a teenager who has had to face many challenges in his young life after being born with a debilitating disease.
Callum Lucas, 14, from Havant, was smiling from ear to ear when he got to meet the players of his favourite football team, Middlesbrough.
His dream day was granted by Starlight Children’s Foundation, a wish-granting charity for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
Callum was on medication at just two days old and has continued to live in and out of hospitals ever since.
He suffers from a rare gastrointestinal disease called eosinophilic entrocolitis, which means he has to be tube-fed for 17 hours a day and suffers chronic fatigue.
Callum’s mum Michelle Lucas heard about Starlight’s wish-granting programme and was delighted when the charity arranged the visit.
The club invited Callum and his parents, Michelle and Steven, sister Alexandra-Grace, aged 12, and brother Joshua, aged 16, to visit for two days.
The family was able to watch the team in training, before getting to meet the stars themselves.
Callum was thrilled to have his photo taken with the players and to get his shirt signed. He even got to sit behind the desk in the press room.
The next day Callum had one of the best seats in the house at Riverside Stadium as the family had their own box. The icing on the cake was the Boro beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0.
Callum, who attends Horndean Technology College and lives in Third Avenue, Denvilles, said: ‘I got to meet some of the players and they were all brilliant.
‘The day I went Shay Given was signed the night before so it was good to meet him as well. It’s always been my favourite club. It was definitely the best experience of my life.’
Callum supports the team as his family are originally from the north-east.
Michelle said: ‘It’s been a difficult few years and to see him smile, it was nice. He’s still smiling now!’