Meeting the entire Orlando Pirates team and watching them train for one of their matches is a dream come true for any football fanatic.
Recently, 13-year-old Happy Tswangae from Potchefstroom experienced this unforgettable moment at the Rand Stadium in Soweto, thanks to Reach For A Dream fulfilling his greatest wish.
Tswangae is battling Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and organ damage, and while there is no cure, his symptoms can be managed through intensive medical treatment.
Tswangae has always been a football fanatic and an Orlando Pirates super-fan. His dream was to meet the Bucs and his hero, Thembinkosi Lorch, the infamous attacking midfielder.
On his dream day, Reach For A Dream whisked Tswangae and his family to Rand Stadium to watch Orlando Pirates train for an upcoming game.
After the training session, Tswangae was invited onto the field to meet the team and shake hands with his idol Lorch.
Thabo Mosete, Tswangae’s father, expressed his gratitude, saying that the opportunity to learn a few tricks of the trade from heroes he had only ever seen on TV provided Happy with the much-needed motivation to continue tackling his illness.
Mosete added, “Even though we do not have much, Reach For A Dream has encouraged us to believe that anything is possible.
Happy works hard to achieve his dreams, so him being here today will boost his morale and let him know that in life you can make it despite your condition.”
As Tswangae left the pitch, the Bucaneers and all supporting staff gave him a round of applause to recognise the warrior he is, for staying positive and strong despite his illness.
Orlando Pirates spokesperson, Thandi Merafe, said, “Orlando Pirates are honoured to fulfil Happy’s greatest wish and would like to wish Happy all the best in his journey to recovery.
From what we have seen, he is an incredibly resilient young man with a bright future ahead of him. We hope that his time spent with the team has inspired him to believe that dreams do come true!”
Reach For A Dream is South Africa’s leading non-profit organisation that fulfils the dreams of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
The CEO of Reach For A Dream, Julia Sotirianakos, said, “Magical moments like these are what Reach For A Dream aims to create for all children with life-threatening illnesses, creating an inspirational moment that allows dreamers to regain their childhood being lost to an illness.
But more than anything else, what truly makes this experience special is how fulfilled dreams stir up much-needed courage and hope, helping these little ones believe that tomorrow is worth fighting for.”
Reach For A Dream has been one of the country’s most recognisable and credible charities for the last 35 years.
Off the back of being awarded the CSI Legacy award for Best NGO in South Africa for 2022, the Foundation has grown from strength to strength by encouraging children to use the power of their dreams to fight life-threatening illnesses and make these dreams come true.