Atkinson family given special day out at Thorp Arch with footballing idols.
Leeds United and charity partner Children’s Heart Surgery Fund surprised a 14-year-old boy, currently waiting to have his third heart surgery, with a special visit to Thorp Arch recently to meet his footballing heroes.
Tom Atkinson, who was born with congenital heart disease and has already undergone two open-heart surgeries at a young age, was joined by his dad Ted, mum Steph and twin 12-year-old brothers Rory and Alex for the exclusive day out at the club’s training ground. The kids were told they would be meeting with the Leeds-based charity for some routine filming which was part of an agreement with the club due to their partnership.
It was Kemar Roofe who was first on the scene to welcome the family on arrival at Thorp Arch, with the Leeds United forward surprising Tom and gifting him a shirt with "Atkinson 15" on the back for his upcoming birthday - he then told Tom and his brothers that they would in fact be meeting all of their favourite footballers during the visit.
Adam Forshaw, who is an ambassador for the charity campaign on behalf of the playing-squad, then met with the family and invited them to the games room area where they could play pool, table tennis and darts with the entire first-team. The players each made their way in and out, spending time chatting to the family, signing shirts for them and having photos with them all as well. The children even got a pair of signed football boots given to them from both Liam Cooper and Leif Davis as a special, personal treat.
Ellie Brown, Fundraising Manager at Children's Heart Surgery Fund, was also on hand at the visit and said: "Today with the family has been absolutely outstanding, Leeds United have once again pulled out all of the stops to make it special for the family and a big thank you to the players for spending so much time with the family, it's been perfect.
"The way the fans have got behind the partnership so far has just been amazing to see and it really is what makes this partnership so special to us as a charity."
Tom is just one of hundreds of youngsters suffering with congenital heart disease that the charity support every year. Children's Heart Surgery Fund not only offer emotional support to families during some of the hardest times they're likely to face but they also fund life-saving equipment for surgeries and procedures and pay for all of the facilities for patient families based at the hospital.
If you are able to support and donate to our campaign with Children's Heart Surgery Fund, please visit www.justgiving.com/All-Leeds-All-Heart.