Noah Cunningham and his mum Vicki were ‘overwhelmed’ by the response of Everton and Dagenham & Redbridge fans following an online campaign to send him cards on his 12th birthday.
The Everton in the Community participant suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which means he is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair to get about. Noah has refused to let his condition define him and for the past five years has represented the Club he loves in Everton’s Medicash Powered Wheelchair team.
The online campaign which was started by an Everton fans group on facebook encouraged fellow fans to bring birthday cards along to the FA Cup fixture against Dagenham & Redbridge to help make Noah’s day extra special. Part of the post read:
“Noah is a devoted Everton fan. He is [at Goodison Park] come rain or shine. By taking the time to pass him a card or wish him ‘Happy Birthday’, you can make his day even better and make him feel special. Noah has a life-limiting illness and every birthday his family spend with him is priceless.”
The campaign has ensured Noah had the ‘best birthday ever’ with hundreds and hundreds of cards being sent by post and handed into the Club’s Park End Reception prior to Everton’s 2-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge in the Third Round of the FA Cup.
With the help of the Everton Fans’ Forum, who sorted and collated cards as well as arranging for Noah and his family to go pitchside prior to kick-off. The 12-year-old was presented with a giant card by Club legend Duncan Ferguson, which had been signed by the entire Everton squad.
Noah’s mum, Vicki says both her and Noah have been overwhelmed by the generosity of fans who have gone out of their way to deliver cards for Noah.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has given him or sent in a card. It really does mean a lot, and it looks like we’ll be opening them for weeks! Noah just loves Everton so to go on the pitch and meet Big Dunc was incredible for him and it has all been very overwhelming.
“He’s not into expensive things or massive toys, with our family it’s all about building memories. He’s quite a shy boy at times but I know he is having the best birthday ever.”
The appeal was shared thousands of times and cards were received from football fans from all over the world. A card and Club pennant was also presented by Dagenham & Redbridge’s Directors.
Ruth Eardley and Lisa Vaughan, members of Everton Fans’ Forum, were at Goodison Park all morning, helping staff collect and sort the hundreds of cards that came in for Noah.
Ruth said: “Fans worldwide have really got on board to make sure Noah’s day was a special one.
“Noah’s birthday appeal has shown that there is genuinely something special about Everton fans and the bond they have with their club.”
To support Noah and help raise funds for Duchene Muscular Dystrophy follow @teamnoahappeal on twitter.
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