Money from celebrity football match will fund Northampton boy's new post surgery bed

Funds from yesterday's celebrity football match will help to buy seven-year-old Archie Kambanis a new bed post spinal surgery.

Monday, 29th April 2019, 12:51 pm
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 1:13 pm
Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

More than 2,600 supporters were in attendance at the Cobblers' ground on Sunday afternoon as a host of celebrities took to the pitch to raise funds for Archie's Army and the Northampton Town Community Trust.

Archie Kambanis of Duston has a rare muscle-wasting condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and was diagnosed with SMA when he was just two.

Archie's mum Kay said her seven-year-old had an incredible day on Sunday.

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Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

"He was met with such kindness, as he always is at NTFC, and also by the celebrities," she said.

"He was made to feel so special and enjoyed every minute of the day. He led the teams out through the tunnel after spending time in the players lounge and changing rooms.

"He then sat on the sideline throughout the whole match and felt like a real manager. Every time someone scored they came running over to celebrate with him with he was thrilled about.

Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

"The turnout and support was incredible and once again would like to thank the club for everything they continue to do for Archie and giving him memories that will last forever."

The game started with Love Island’s Sam Gowland putting Team One ahead on 14 minutes before Dan Osborne levelled the score six minutes later. Eastenders star Aaron Sidwell then scored twice to put Team Two in front by 3-1.

Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas was tripped eight minutes before half time and after a VAR review (asking the crowd) Team Two did indeed have a penalty. The Cobblers chairman picked himself up to score.

F2 Freestyler Jeremy Lynch then extended the lead to 5-1 just before the break.

Fellow F2 Freestyler Billy Wingrove pulled a goal back early in the second half but Shayne Ward made the score 6-2 just after the hour with a close-range finish.

Sam Gowland netted his second of the afternoon to reduce the deficit to 6-3, and it was soon 6-4 as Team One continued the fightback. However, a delightful cross from Kelvin Thomas allowed Ben Cohen to volley home and make it 7-4.

Dean Gaffney scored to make it 7-5, and with three minutes to play, Gowland completed his hat-trick. A last minute own goal then made the score 7-7.

Four minutes of added time followed without any further score, before Team Two won on a penalty shoot out, but the real winner was young Archie and his family.

Team One was managed by Northamptonshire County Cricket Club players, Alex Wakely, Rob Keogh and Steven Crook and Team Two was managed by former Saints and England rugby player Ben Cohen.

Archie's mum Kay, who is one in 40 people who holds the muscle waste gene, was told Archie's muscles would eventually shrink and die, but his brain would remain unaffected.

SMA is a life-shortening condition where the motor nerve cells in the spinal chord become diseased, which causes a decline in physical strength. As a result, walking and eating become difficult and a simple chest infection could be fatal.

Although there is medication abroad available to treat Archie’s disease, overseas one injection of the drug Spinraza would cost Kay about £75,000 every four months for the rest of his life.

The funds raised from the football match will continue to pay for Archie to have private and alternative therapy while his family continue to campaign for the drug to be made available in the UK, and will also purchase him a new bed.

Kay added: "We are moving to a bungalow in the summer and hope to use funds to make the appropriate adaptions to the property including sensor taps and wash, dry toilets meaning he can use the bathroom independently.

"We will also be purchasing Archie a new profiling bed, which will help him be able to in the night with ease and get himself to a sitting position. This will help hugely after his spinal surgery."