Football fan acts as team’s mascot

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A young football fan who is severely disabled with a life-limiting condition acted as the team mascot for last Saturday’s game.

Five-year old Isaac Smith, of Loscoe, was carried by his father Andy into the centre of the City Ground pitch during half-time at the match between Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 17.

The dream was made a reality thanks to a partnership between Nottingham Forest Football Club and Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, which has supported the Loscoe family for six months. This season, the team has adopted Rainbows as its charity of the year.

Just five years ago, Andy, 41, was minutes away from losing his wife Rachael and unborn baby Isaac during a difficult labour. Two days before Rachael, 40, was due to have an elected C-Section, she woke in the night with the most horrendous pains. Thinking she was in early labour, Rachael went to the hospital. By the time she arrived, she was unable to walk and was taken straight to theatre for emergency surgery.

Medics discovered her placenta had ruptured which caused mass haemorrhaging. Rachel lost seven pints of blood and unborn baby Isaac was being starved of oxygen.

When Isaac was born, it took 20 minutes to resuscitate him. The lack of oxygen resulted in brain damage leaving Isaac with spastic quadriplegia – the most severe form of cerebral palsy. Later, Andy was told that had they got to the hospital five minutes later, neither Rachel nor Isaac would have survived.

Now aged five, Isaac – who attends Stanton Vale School in Long Eaton – can’t do anything independently and relies on round-the-clock care. He is unable to walk or talk, suffers from epilepsy and is visually impaired. He takes daily medication and has endless medical appointments.

Despite all the challenges Isaac faces, he is such a happy little boy. He can hear what is going on around him and he loves to smile and laugh.

“Seeing the courage Isaac has shown gives us all the strength we need to carry on,” said Rachael.

Rachael and Andy, who also have two daughters, Connie, nine, and two-year-old Violet, discovered Rainbows this summer.

Andy said: “Everyone at Rainbows will do whatever they can to ensure families like ours are always able to create happy memories. For me as a father, Saturday was an incredible opportunity and something that we, as a family, will treasure.

“Isaac will never be able to kick a ball, but to experience the atmosphere was the next best thing for him.”