Aston Villa are a source of pride for many of us. Whether we have been life long fans or if it isa more recent obsession; once Villa grabs hold of you, it doesn’t let go. The club has the history to back this up; looking at William McGregor’s statue and thinking about his achievements in helping setting up the league, the beauty of the Holte End and the quotes of the commentary from the European Cup win in 82 we know it has a well spring to draw on to bring pride.
Anyone with access to Facebook, Instagram or Youtube also know that the social media section of the club draw on this freely. A bombardment of hashtag #partofthepride, images of Rotterdam and videos about the club encourage us to belong, whether the club deserves it or not with its on field performances.
However the club has done something that has made me proud to be a Villan. It has led the way in a community venture which has made me live up to the clubs overused hashtag. On Saturday 20th September the club blitzed its social media with Finn’s story to tie in with World Bone Marrow Donor Day.
It is about a child who has a genetic disorder which causes HLH, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (let’s not say that again) which affects a childs brain and body where its own white cells are attacking itself and if not treated will lead to death. This requires a Bone Marrow transplant to recover from the illness. Villa has linked up with DKMS who registered Tyrone Mings, Jack Grealish, Neil Taylor, Tom Heaton and others. They have been shown to have a simple cheek swab which takes 3 minutes and has registered the players to the world ide Bone Marrow register and encourage others to do the same.
And this is the source of my pride in Villa. I love supporting the club, sharing moments where we celebrate last minute goals, moments of individual brilliance, mocking the Blues and getting angry at being robbed or frustrated at poor performance. However Villa has given me another reason to be proud; it has lead the way in getting people signed up for the Bone Marrow Register. By doing this Villa has show it can be a club doing something for the community, for others rather than being the cliché of overpaid players just in it for the money. I want to support a club that helps all of us fans support other and help other people; Villa have shown they can come up to my expectations.
I do have a vested interest in this as my daughter Isobel (the Griscelli Supergirl) also has HLH and has had for three years. She has been under Birmingham Children’s Hospital care and will need a bone marrow transplant at some point too. So thank you Villa for leading on this; I hope the Premier League, Championship and EFL all follow our example and players and fans will sign up with DKMS at events or apply on line for a kit.
If every adult fan who attended Villa Park signed up that could be tens of thousands of people who could be potential matches for Finn, Isobel or others from all over the world who need a Bone Marrow Match. Lives can be saved in that simple, 3 minute act. If all the Villans who could join, joined we would add thousands to the 27.5 million that are already on the register. The link up between DKMS and Villa could be force for good that could give exponentially.
Like our club has proved, like we prove as fans of this club #YouveGotItInYou