Why Scar­lets boss made one fan’s day ex­tra spe­cial

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Ben James [email protected]­line.co.uk

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

Pic­ture: Ben Evans/ Huw Evans Agency

Dil­lan Wil­liams with dad Stu­art at Judge­ment Day and, left, with Scar­lets cap­tain Ken Owens.

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