Willow blog

Arsenal Foundation pledges support

January 25, 2017

Hundreds more young people living with debilitating degenerative conditions will receive a lifeline from Willow thanks to the Arsenal Foundation pledging support for a further three years.

Since becoming the Arsenal Foundation’s charity partner in 2013, Willow has received more than £150,000 from the Foundation, funding its unique Special Days for so many young people living with conditions such as motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease, amongst others.  This invaluable support is set to continue with more than £180,000 pledged over the next three years.

With Willow’s strong Arsenal heritage – founded by former goalkeeper, Bob Wilson and his wife Megs, in memory of their daughter – and Bob Wilson’s role as Arsenal Foundation Ambassador, the Charity is justly proud of the ongoing association.

The chance to be part of Arsenal’s dedicated match day last month raised an additional £2,000 with a Willow bucket collection and the opportunity to spread the Willow word directly to the fans, who always give Bob and his Charity a warm welcome at the ground.

Alongside the sizable donations, the Foundation supports the Charity in many other ways, not least by providing match tickets for its Special Days – giving a once in a lifetime chance to many Arsenal fans during a really tough time, having had their lives turned upside down by serious illness.  The chance to watch their heroes play is a welcome respite from day to day struggles.

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.”

17 year old Jamie has muscular dystrophy, leaving him wheelchair bound.  Arsenal mad Jamie fulfilled a life long dream when he visited the Arsenal training ground, meeting so many of his heroes and watching them train:
“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.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much. The memories of Jamie’s smile will stay with me for the rest of my life.“ – Jamie’s mum, Beth

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.