American dream comes true for Giants' biggest fan
10 year old Ethan McClean from Ballymena may be the Belfast Giants' biggest fan, but he's going on the trip of a lifetime to see his second favourite team, the Atlanta Gladiators.
Our little buddy, Ethan McClean is coming to America!— Atlanta Gladiators (@atlgladiators) November 7, 2018
The Glads biggest fan overseas in Northern Ireland has had his wish to see the Gladiators play in Atlanta GRANTED by the Dreams Come True organization in the UK!
FULL STORY: https://t.co/PSARQOntRt@team_mcclean pic.twitter.com/sIDGYfnFp4
Ethan suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a severe muscle-wasting condition, having been diagnosed with the terminal condition when he was 18 months old.
But he focuses on living life to the full, and last year his love of superheroes grabbed the attention of the Atlanta Gladiators on social media.
Hey Ethan, we heard about your fight & all the great things #TeamMcLean is doing & want to help. Our coach Chuck Weber & fwd Taylor Stefishen, formerly of the @officialEIHL, have a surprise for you! We know you back the @BelfastGiants but hopefully we can be your 2nd favorite! pic.twitter.com/exbbrDo2KN— Atlanta Gladiators (@atlgladiators) December 2, 2017
From then on it's been his wish to see the Gladiators play, and it's become a reality through the work of Dreams Come True, a children's charity that helps young people with serious and life-limiting conditions to fulfil a dream.
Ethan will fly out to America to see matches on November 16th, 17th and 18th, and it's safe to say he's excited.
I think it’s safe to say Ethan’s getting a little more excited about his trip with each passing day 😁🏒♥️ pic.twitter.com/JTJv7XJxPe— Team McClean (@team_mcclean) November 6, 2018
The Gladiators' director of Communications Chris Treft said, “When we first set out to help this little boy, we never would have imagined he would embrace it so much, and we would have established the bond we have now.
“We could not be more touched for him to have chosen us as his wish over anything else in the world. This is what sports are all about and to be a big part of his inspirational journey is beyond wonderful to be a part of.”
“We are going to pull out all the stops to make sure this is the best experience of his life.
“What this boy has to go through every day is remarkable, and we are going to make sure this becomes the trip of a lifetime and one he will always remember.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital