York Knights bring joy to York boys with mitochondrial disease

But it was an incredible performance for Holgate’s Bill Gornall to step onto the field ahead of Sunday’s York Knights game at Community Stadium against the London Broncos.

York Press: Bill is waiting to step onto the fieldBill is waiting to enter the field (Image: Stephen Gaunt/Touchline)

As The Press previously reportedBill suffers from an extremely rare form of the life-limiting mitochondrial disease MELAS, a rare condition that begins in childhood and primarily affects the nervous system and muscles.

After the game, Bill said, “I started out as a normal little boy, climbing trees and playing with friends, riding my bike fast down the hill in the park, and then everything changed and I got mitochondrial disease and it stopped, when I started getting sick.” very tired.

“But now I walked out at the Knights match in front of thousands of people and I feel so included and happy.”

York Press: Bill and Sid in conversation with the Knights' Joni SommervilleBill and Sid talk to Joni Sommerville from the Knights (Image: Stephen Gaunt/Touchline)

Bill, who attends Acomb Elementary School and lives with his father, Sid and siblings Buddy, eight, and Olive, five, was diagnosed in 2020 and now has difficulty walking and requires a wheelchair to get around to move.

The York RLFC team got in touch after an article in The Press and invited Bill and his family to both practice and the game.

York Press: The players come onto the fieldThe players come onto the field (Image: Stephen Gaunt/Touchline)

Sid said: “We had a wonderful time. The weather and the result made it even better, but I’m sure it would still have been great. The family now consists of 5 die-hard Knights fans!”

“Bill thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience. He was a little nervous walking out but managed brilliantly. It’s funny to think that two years ago that wall would have been nothing, but now that’s about its limit.”

“When he got home he was exhausted, partly from nervousness but mostly from excitement. In the end he just managed to drag himself upstairs.

“The reach this experience will have is priceless. It’s about listening to the announcer explain Bill’s condition over the speaker in front of all those fans and raising awareness of the condition and the charity. I’ve already seen York Knights.” Players are starting to follow #bills_mito_battle on Instagram, as is the general public, which is a real bonus.

“Bill is coping with what happened to him with flying colours. It’s easy to forget what he should be able to do now as an 11-year-old when he normalizes the whole situation and just moves on.”

York Press: Bill carries the ball onto the fieldBill carries the ball onto the field (Image: Stephen Gaunt/Touchline)

Matty Lewis, York RUFC Commercial Director, said: “We really wanted to help raise awareness about mitochondrial diseases and give Bill an experience he wouldn’t forget. When the whistle came, Bill was supposed to take the cue ball out.” As I entered the field, I was delighted to hear the whole stadium go silent as the announcer explained Mito and introduced Bill.

“It was a special moment when every single person in the stadium stood up and applauded Bill from the tunnel. I was choked up, I was so proud of him.”

“We would like to thank Bill and his family, it was a privilege to have them with us.”

York Press: The teams enter the fieldThe teams enter the field (Image: Stephen Gaunt/Touchline)

Soon after the diagnosis, Bill’s family were given the details The Lily FoundationThe UK’s leading mitochondrial disease charity and the largest non-profit funder of mitochondrial research in Europe.

Sid, a designer for Thor’s Bars, will compete in the Action Challenge Lakeland Ultra – a 100km loop around the lakes – on June 10th.

He said: “I’m doing it as part of the “Team Bill” gives only one page The current amount is £26,244 for the Lily Foundation. I hope to reach my minimum funding requirement of £595 before the end of the month.”

https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/23540969.york-knights-match-joy-york-boy-mitochondrial-disease/?ref=rss York Knights bring joy to York boys with mitochondrial disease


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