Sporting Icon nominee – Dan Lambert
In the course of a half mile journey taxi driver Dan Lambert managed to transform the life of a boy with a serious medical condition.
The boy’s mum told Dan how much her son used to love playing football but that he couldn’t find a team to accept him once they found out his medical history.
Dan, from Trent Vale, took her contact details and promised to help. By the following afternoon he’d come good on that promise and found a team that was happy for 12-year-old Jake to join.
Jake, who was a Your Heroes Awards Child of Courage winner in 2021, has an ileostomy stoma after having his bowel removed.
His mum, Danielle Cassidy, said: “He never thought he’d be able to play for a football team again. Dan has given him back something he loved.
“Jake wanted to get back into football as a goalkeeper, which he loved. He trialled at many clubs but wasn’t accepted when his medical background was mentioned. One Friday night on a taxi ride home we came across Dan Lambert and a conversation about football formed.
“It was mentioned how Jake longed to be back in goal and the reasons that were stopping him. Dan that night promised that Jake would be in a team and asked for contact details. Saturday afternoon he surprisingly contacted us and said he had found a team for Jake who accepted him in goal with his medical background.”
It turned out that Dan is manager of City of Stoke Football Club’s under-15s team. He arranged a place in their under-13s team for Jake. Dan also had some personalised goalkeeping gloves made for Jake.
Danielle said: “Dan showed Jake that you can live life again no matter the barriers and, in the last few months, because of Dan, he’s showed others you can achieve anything especially with a hidden disability.
“Dan went out of his way to make a child smile and formed a great friendship with Jake, also arranging a friendly match so that he could watch Jake play.
“This may not seem much to some people but Dan changed Jake’s life for the better and because of this other children with stomas around the country have now got back into football.
“Jake comes with some issues which his manager deals with amazingly. This is because of Dan and we can’t thank him enough. Dan is a hero not just to Jake but to every child that he helps and sees as equals.”
Danielle has nominated Dan as a Sporting Icon in the Your Heroes Awards.
Dan, 38, has been playing and coaching football for the past two decades. He’s been coaching City of Stoke Football Club’s under-15s team for a year.
He said: “Being nominated for a Your Heroes has given me goosebumps. It’s lovely. It reminds you that the tiniest thing you can do for someone else, even if it feels like almost nothing to you, can mean everything to that other person.”