A Table View football-supporters’ club is helping a young soccer fan with a rare form of cancer.
Cape Town Hammers, a Table View supporters club of the West Ham United Football Club, was founded in 2004.
It has partnered with the Reach for a Dream Foundation to grant 16-year-old Richard Bam a dream.
Last year, Richard was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
Richard had tumour in his lower back and he had to undergo six months of chemotherapy and several weeks of radiation.
“In the beginning, things were a little different with regard to the people around me. The biggest difference though is that I didn’t have any hair. My friends were really nice, and I am thankful to them for always trying to cheer me up when I was going through a tough time. At school, I was given estimated marks last year so I’m grateful to them for that. I’m in Grade 10 now and doing pretty good,” Richard said.
According to Barrie Smith, chairman of the Cape Town Hammers, when they heard about Richard, through Reach For A Dream, they knew they had to do something.
“We decided we would also like to get involved, and we organised him new gear for this season. We got him this season’s new football jersey, scarf and other goodies.”
The Cape Town Hammers have around 30 registered members and watch all their games at Royal Oak Pub in Tabe View.
Richard’s ultimate dream is to watch his beloved West Ham United live in England.
Esme Oates, of Reach For A Dream in Century City, said they had organised the trip for him and they were happy to grant him this wish.
“We have been going strong for 30 years now, and we assist kids with life-threatening illnesses from the ages of 3 to 18 years. We cater to whatever the dream of the kid may be.
“Whether it be a brand-new bicycle or an overseas trip. Meeting the parents and the kids with the dreams is always a great experience, and putting a smile on their faces is why we do it,” said Ms Oates.
Jeanne Bam, Richard’s mom, said her son’s diagnosis had taken the family by surprise. “It was quite rough for him. He would go in for chemo and take a few days to feel better, but as soon as he felt better and strong enough to go to school, he would have to go in for chemo again. So it took quite a toll on him and it was quite a process.”
Reach For A Dream organised three plane tickets, accommodation and match-day tickets. Richard’s mother and brother Jacques, 18, will be joining him on the trip, and they leave on Thursday October 3.
They are scheduled to watch West Ham United play Crystal Palace at the home of West Ham, the London Stadium on Saturday October 5.
Richard’s cancer is now in remission and he is focussing on staying healthy and living life. He is playing rugby and water polo and does kickboxing. He also plays football.