HE might not have given them the ‘hairdryer treatment’ but five-year-old Jordan Perez certainly helped inspire the Share A Dream soccer team at the weekend’s Jeff Power Soccer tournament.
The Sixmilebridge boy, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy II, took charge of the team talk for the match at Portland Park, home of Summerville Rovers in Limerick. The brave youngster led the players out onto to the pitch in his power chair to music from Rocky, with Jordan’s mother Sinéad saying, “We all had an amazing day. Jordan was treated like a celebrity”.
Jordan was diagnosed with the genetic condition when he was just 10 months old. However, he continues to inspire with his happy, bubbly personality.
Jordan’s dream day came courtesy of Share A Dream, following a particularly difficult year for his family. Last year, he was extremely sick with numerous chest infections and he has developed a problem swallowing. In May of last year, he suffered a cardiac arrest in hospital, with his life fortunately saved by a doctor.
Sinéad said, “Jordan is the happiest little boy you would ever meet. He is so bubbly, so outgoing. He knows he has a disability and that he has limitations but it doesn’t seem to get him down. He is just very happy and very outgoing. You wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with him. I know he has his power chair but to see his little face, he’s just the happiest child ever. He goes through a lot. He has a rigorous routine everyday but he just gets on with it and we’ve great support here at home with the nurses. Every day is a blessing to have him.”
The dream day began when a garda car pulled up outside the family home in Sixmilebridge, delighting not just Jordan but also mum, Sinéad; dad, Julio; brother, Ryan and even little sister, three-week-old Zoe.
With sirens blaring and lights flashing, a garda escort brought Jordan to the Clarion Hotel, where the family met with operations manager, Bríd Nash for lunch. Jordan then travelled with another garda escort, this time in a classic NYPD car to Portland Park. “There were sirens on the whole way. The boys were just blown away by this. They thought it was amazing,” said Sinéad.
The inspirational little boy loves soccer and was greeted at the grounds by the Share a Dream soccer team. Jordan also got to meet Mr World, Kamal Ibrahim, on the day.
“They were met by a huge crowd from Summerville Rovers, the organisers and supporters of the Jeff Power Soccer Tournament. It really was like he was a celebrity, everyone wanted to meet him and take photographs. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
“When he went in to give the team their pep talk, all the lads introduced themselves and there was lots of banter with him about Man United.
“Both he and Ryan got a lovely presentation from Jeff Power’s dad. When Jordan led out the team to the Rocky music it was so special, everyone who was there was clapping and cheering.”
She added, “We had an absolute ball, we didn’t expect as much as we got. Shay Kinsella and Ciara Brolly from Share A Dream were there with us for the day and we can’t thank them enough for what they do and the memories they create. This is Jordan’s second time having a dream come true with them. They brought him to Thomas Land in 2010 and he had a ball. They are just absolutely amazing. I don’t think people realise how much they do for people behind the scenes. They made such a fuss, not just of Jordan but of all of us. This was a whole family thing and everyone made us feel really welcome.”