Why Scarlets boss made one fan’s day extra special
A YOUNG Scarlets fan suffering from a rare condition was treated to a brilliant surprise after getting to watch his favourite team play at the Principality Stadium... alongside the coaches.
Dillan Williams, 11, has been diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, a very rare and serious condition that affects only 30-40 children per year.
But thanks to the generosity of Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac, Dillan got to spend last Saturday’s Judgement Day with the Welsh region – running out as mascot with captain Ken Owens and watching the match with the coaches after being given access to all areas.
The soon-to-be Wales coach had revealed the surprise to Dillan last week after paying a visit to his Llanelli home – going to the trouble of also making him mascot.
“Someone had explained to Wayne that Dillan wasn’t very well and was a massive Scarlets fan,” explained dad Stuart. “So Wayne wanted to come see him to boost his spirits.
“I just happened to start recording his visit to post on Dillan’s Facebook page and then he offered Dillan access all areas at Judgement Day. It was unbelievable.
“Wayne had spoken to the WRU and he wasn’t sure if there would be enough room with the coaches, so he had gone out of his way to arrange for Dillan to be mascot. I’m told that takes some doing.
“It made his week! He was so chuffed!”
Dillan was diagnosed in late March, after feeling out of breath after playing for his junior rugby club. He now requires a bone marrow transplant – which will see him stay in Bristol Hospital for three months.
He also won’t be able to attend school for six months and has been told he can’t play rugby for the foreseeable future.
Throughout his journey, Dillan has posted photos on his Facebook page – Dillan’s fight against Aplastic Anaemia – which he hopes will help other children who are affected by this condition. He also hopes to get the hashtag #DoItForDBear trending.
Other rugby stars have shown their support for Dillan, with Wales duo Scott Williams and George North recording a message of support.
Dillan and his family have been supported throughout by Latch, a children’s cancer charity. Even though Dillan doesn’t have cancer, the nature of his condition means he is treated on the cancer ward.
And Pivac’s visit came just as Dillan was setting off for a holiday supported by the charity.
“We were going to Trecco Bay to stay in a caravan put on by Latch. They’ve supported us through it all,” says Stuart.
“We were getting ready to go and Wayne rang me and said he’d come over. It was a total shock.”
The access all areas at Judgement Day wasn’t the only surprise Pivac had in store for Dillan.
“He asked Dillan if he’d like a Scarlets jersey and said he had Samson Lee’s jersey that he wore when they won the PRO12 and he’s going to get Samson to sign it,” added Stuart.
“Another nice touch was when we were on the bus back, Wayne text me around 9 at night saying ‘Tell Dillan the two points we had today were enough and we’re in the play-offs’.
“We couldn’t believe it. He was obviously still thinking about Dillan. It’s clear he cares because he went to the trouble to text at that time of night.”
Someone had explained to Wayne that Dillan wasn’t very well and was a massive Scarlets fan, so Wayne wanted to come see him to boost his spirits Dillan Williams’ dad, Stuart
Dillan Williams with dad Stuart at Judgement Day and, left, with Scarlets captain Ken Owens.