Our third Kick of the week took us down to London for the Championship game between Millwall and Peterborough United. We have a great relationship with Millwall, everybody at the club is very hospitable and last season we were very grateful to be charity of the year for Millwall fanzine No One Likes Us (NOLU).
We used some of the money raised by NOLU to give 5 year old Olivia from Orpington the chance to be mascot for the game. Olivia was nominated via a competition in the Southwark News. Olivia developed a condition which affected her ability to walk but she has battled hard to overcome this. Dad Brett told us:
“Olivia was in hospital for 6 months and paralyzed from the waist down for 2 years and has recently just been able to walk after 15 operations on her legs, she has attended school in a wheelchair for her first year and now has to wear supporting afos on her legs. She is one of the youngest ever to contract this illness in the UK and one of a handful of people to walk again.
She has to visit 3 hospitals every week for physio sessions to help her walk, lumber punctures, blood transfusions, mri scans and checks on her bladder to see how things are progressing. There is no cure for this its just operation after operation, medication and lots of support from us. Two years ago the doctors predicted she would never walk again so the opportunity to walk out with the team and kick a ball with them is amazing and will really lift her confidence.”
I met up with Olivia along with her mum and dad before the game and handed over her new Millwall kit. Then it was time to go through into the stadium, where she her picture taken with Darren Purse, before going into the dressing room for more pictures and autographs.
Olivia had a kick-about with the other mascots and then walked out with captain Paul Robinson, before taking her seat with the rest of the family to see an exciting 2-2 draw.
We would like to thank John Prendergast at Southwark News, everybody at Millwall FC and of course our friends at NOLU for making Olivia’s Kick possible.