Codicote boy with rare muscle disease to deliver match ball at Saracens rugby match

PUBLISHED: 13:10 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:11 21 November 2019

Six-year-old William Eames will step onto the Allianz Park turf on Saturday to present the match ball. Picture: Jo Eames

Six-year-old William Eames will step onto the Allianz Park turf on Saturday to present the match ball. Picture: Jo Eames

Archant

A Codicote boy with a rare genetic disease has been given the chance to deliver the match ball at a Saracens rugby match on Saturday.

Six-year-old William Eames will take centre stage at Allianz Park on Saturday afternoon, as part of Saracens' charity partnership with Duchenne UK.

William was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was just three - a fatal genetic condition which causes progressive muscle weakening in children.

The devastating disease - almost always affecting boys - can completely paralyse children by their teenage years, with most sufferers unlikely to live beyond their 20s.

William starting using a wheelchair last year, and with the support of local businesses has seen his family home specially resdesigned to make life easier.

London-based Saracens launched their two-year partnership with Duchenne UK in September this year, with Saturday's match against the Ospreys aiming to increase awareness of the disease.

As well as delivering the match ball, William will be treated to an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Saracens changing room, where he will meet the players - including England captain Owen Farrell.

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William's mother Jo is full of praise for the work of Duchenne UK and is excited by their partnership with Saracens.

"Duchenne UK have epitomised what a small charity should do and can do," Jo said. "They are trying to find a cure for all of our boys, and are putting so much money into medical science.

"Saracens are such an amazing community. It's so fitting for me that Saracens - who my dad is a huge fan of - have chosen a charity that is so close to our hearts. We're very thankful for what they're doing with Duchenne UK.

"We are all so excited about the game on Saturday. William will just have the biggest smile on his face all day."

William will also be joined on the pitch by his grandfather - and lifelong Saracens supporter - Peter Godfrey.

"Saracens is a club that is a rugby club, but it's so many other things as well," Peter said.

"The fact that Saracens has chosen to support Duchenne UK is absolutely wonderful. Hopefully it will do an awful lot to raise awareness to the world of this disease, which is still pretty unknown."

To make a donation to Duchenne UK, visit www.duchenneuk.org/donate/saracens or text 'TACKLEDMD' to 70085 to donate £10.

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