Earlier this year Wayne joined a host of leading lights from the sporting world in supporting 13-year-old Milan Patel who is battling cancer for a third time.
The youngster, who plays for Kenilworth Wardens FC in Warwickshire, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer two years ago. Milan responded well to treatment, but when the disease returned, he said: “I fought it once, I’ll do it again.”
He was true to his word, although sadly the cancer returned again this autumn, leading his club coach Paul Calver to launch the social media campaign #supportmilansthirdbattle.
The campaign calls on people to show their support by buying blue and yellow wristbands to raise awareness for Milan’s battle and money for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Wayne posted his own image across his social media platforms with the message: ‘“Inspired by young footballer Milan Patel battling cancer. Keep fighting mate!”
Wayne was so inspired by Milan story that he invited both Milan and his family for a special day out to watch Manchester United play Southampton at Old Trafford.
The Patel family were hosted in a private box owned by Wayne’s management company Triple S Sports & Entertainment were they watched the match in comfort and treated to Michelin Star food.
The fun didn’t stop there, Milan got to meet and have his photograph taken with Ed Chamberlain, Glen Hoddle and Jamie Carragher in the Sky Sports studio, and Gary Lineker, Phil Neville and Graham Le Saux in NBC studio.
The highlight of Milan’s day was saved until last. He made his way down to the Old Trafford tunnel before meeting Wayne himself and taking the opportunity to have a chat, get a shirt signed and also have a photograph with the Manchester United captain.
It was a day to remember for the teenager, Milan said: “The whole day was amazing, we were spoilt from the moment we arrived at Man Utd, meeting all the different presenters in the TV studios, the Man Utd staff, and especially Paul Stretford who looked after me all the time. The day was topped off by meeting Rooney and talking about the game, all I can say is that is was amazing and thank you everyone who arranged it, it was just an amazing experience”.
Meeting Milan was just as special for Wayne as it was for Milan, Wayne said: “When I first heard the story about Milan and his love for the game it really touched me and I had no hesitation in getting involved in the campaign. The thing that inspired me most was his positive attitude and hearing how he insisted on playing through his illness no matter what. Because of this we wanted to do something special, so I had a conversation with my agent Paul Stretford, and together with the team at Triple S we organised the trip to Old Trafford. It was great to be able to put a smile on Milan’s face. After listening to how he’s handling things I will take a lot from it also, he’s a fighter and it was a pleasure to meet him!”
Paul Stretford, Triple S Sports & Entertainment Managing Director said: “It was a pleasure to meet Milan, his family and his football coach Paul Calver. He is such a brave, upbeat boy and his courage, strength and determination is something that caught our attention. His story is an inspiration to all and we hope we have highlighted his fight and helped him with his fundraising for The Teenage Cancer Trust.”