Our latest Community Day proved a special one for James Middlehurst with the eight-year-old enjoying a reunion with David Luiz.
David Luiz met the youngster during our annual visit to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital just prior to Christmas, with the pair hitting it off and the Brazilian inviting James to attend today’s Open Training session, as well as sending him the shirt he wore during our 4-2 win over Stoke City on New Year’s Eve.
There was a further surprise today for James, who plays for the Team GB amputee football team, with David Luiz gifting the youngster a pair of his boots.
Upon being greeted by his hero again and the rest of the first-team squad, James said; ‘David Luiz is my favourite player and it is amazing to meet him again.
‘It happened the first time when I was at Chelsea and Westminster having an operation and I asked to meet David. He was brilliant and I now have his shirt and boots and he said I am his friend!’
David Luiz said: ‘James is a big example for us all and an inspiration. We met at the hospital and it was an incredible day.
‘He asked to meet me and it was a pleasure that we could make it happen and it changed my life and I am delighted to see him doing so well.’
Among the other guests today was 2016 Paralympian Steve Osborne (pictured top in the grey top).
The 53-year-old was unable to join his fellow Paralympics GB members at the Bridge for our game against Leicester City in October, so was delighted to receive an invite to today’s session from the Foundation.
‘It is amazing to get invited to training and see what the players go through on a daily basis,’ said Osborne, who has been an avid Blues all his life.
‘As a Paralympic athlete I train most days but I want to keep learning and seeing the players helps that. As a fan it is of course a dream come true!’
Our Community Day happens regularly over the course of the season with the Chelsea Foundation linking up with a range of charities and individuals to arrange visits for seriously or terminally ill supporters and their carers, giving them a well-deserved boost in what is obviously a difficult time for them and their families.
Also in attendance, and guests of the Chelsea Foundation, were India Radford and Jared Ayi-Fobsa (pictured below).