Russian international footballers grant dream gifts to young disabled fans

Russia’s international footballers have made the wishes of two young disabled fans come true by giving them their dream presents as part of the ‘New Year wishes’ initiative launched by the Russian Football Union (RFU).

Last autumn, the RFU launched the ‘New Year wishes’ project in which Russian national team players aimed to fulfill the dreams of young football fans, who were asked to submit their requests. The project placed emphasis on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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Nastia Romanova, 13, and nine-year-old Ksenia Busygina were the contest winners, who received a new car and new car seat respectively, to aid them in receiving treatment.

Nastia, from Voronezh, asked for the car to take her to a rehabilitation center 40km from her home. The youngster, who needs special medical treatment to aid spine problems, wanted a new vehicle to replace an old and worn-out family car.

Ksenia, from Russia’s Mari El Republic, saw her wish come true when she was given a new car seat suitable for children with cerebral palsy. The old seat was too small for the youngster, who constantly needs to go to hospital to receive medical services.

Along with the seat, the players also presented a sports uniform to the young girl. “Now we will safely travel and fight against our disease to get healthy. We are immensely happy to receive such a present,” Ksenia’s mother said.

The competition was open to kids under 14 years of age, who were invited to send their New Year wishes in a letter or video to stand a chance of their dreams coming true.

The organizers of the project received almost 3,000 gift requests from all corners of Russia, but then whittled the list down to 121 finalists.

The New Year gift campaign was launched in November and included the participation of Russian internationals Alexei and Anton Miranchuk, Georgiy Dzhikia and Alexander Golovin.

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