6 March, 2023
Meeting the entire Orlando Pirates team and watching them train for one of their matches is beyond any football fanatic's wildest dreams. But this is exactly what 13-year-old Happy Tswangae experienced recently at Rand Stadium in Soweto, when Reach For A Dream granted his greatest wish.
Tswangae is a 13-year-old boy from Potchefstroom, who is battling Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks tissues, causing inflammation and organ damage. While there is no cure, his symptoms can be managed through intensive medical treatment.
As a football fanatic and Orlando Pirates super-fan, Tswangae has always dreamt of meeting the Bucs, and his hero, Thembinkosi Lorch, the infamous attacking midfielder. On his dream day, he received the biggest surprise when Reach For A Dream, South Africa’s leading non-profit organisation that fulfils the dreams of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses, whisked him and his family to Rand Stadium to watch Orlando Pirates train for an upcoming game. After the session, Twangae was invited onto the field to meet the team and shake hands with his idol, Lorch.
According to Thabo Mosete, Tswangae’s father, 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: “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 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!” says Thandi Merafe, Orlando Pirates Spokesperson.
“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,” says Julia Sotirianakos, CEO of Reach For A Dream. “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.”
About Reach For A Dream
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.
To donate to the Foundation, please visit: https://reachforadream.org.za/donate/
To refer a child, please visit: https://reachforadream.org.za/refer-a-child/