Joe Calzaghe grants young fan’s wish

News release and photo for immediate use
Wednesday 9 May 2012

Boxing legend Joe Calzaghe has come out of retirement to make seven year old Owen Allen’s wish come true! Owen, who battled cancer, met his idol on Thursday 3 May thanks to Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK, the charity that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.

On the day of his wish, Owen and his family were picked up in a limousine and taken to All Stars Boxing Gym in Harrow where they were greeted by Joe. A star-struck Owen did some warm-up skipping with Joe before getting into the ring…they sparred for ten rounds and it was decided that Owen was the outright winner – Joe even said that Owen was the best seven year old boxer he had seen! Owen was then given a pair of signed gloves before asking for some top tips from the pro. Joe, Owen and his family were then treated to lunch and Joe signed some cards for Owen to give to his friends. After meeting Joe, Owen said: ”It was better than brilliant!”

Owen, who is from Bromsgrove, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in December 2010. A month into chemotherapy, he started having trouble with his legs and had to stop playing rugby. His doctor suggested skipping to build strength in his tendons so Owen started going to the local boxing gym – he now loves boxing so much he trains four times a week and hopes to one day be heavyweight champion of the world!

His Dad, Peter, said: “Throughout his treatment Owen was an inspiration to the whole family; even in the darkest hour we could rely on Owen to have a smile on his face…”

After Owen’s wish he said: “It was more than I could have ever expected for Owen. What a great guy Joe is, and thank you to Make-A-Wish.”

Joe Calzaghe said: “It was a real pleasure to meet Owen and spend time with him in the boxing ring – he’s a great boxer already and he’s only seven! I feel privileged to have been involved with his wish and think the work that Make-A-Wish does really is fantastic.”

There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 to achieve this.

To make a donation to Make-A-Wish please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or telephone 01276 40 50 60.

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For more information about this news release please contact:
Hayley Epps: T: 01276 405093 M: 07557563214 E: hayley.epps@makeawish.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. More photos available if required
2. Please note that Make-A-Wish does not use phrases such as ‘terminally ill’ in order to respect the sensitive nature of life-threatening conditions and what they mean to children and young people and their families. We would ask that this approach is followed and that the term ‘life-threatening conditions’ is used in material for publication.
3. Make-A-Wish should be referred to as Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK in the first instance. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ or ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’ is suitable. We would ask that you try to keep ‘Make-A-Wish’ on the same line.
4. Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The charity was founded in the UK in 1986. Registered charity number: 295672/SC037479 www.make-a-wish.org.uk

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Make-A-Wish Foundation UK grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting a life-threatening condition. There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 and receives no government funding or lottery grants – so every donation really does count.

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