Surprise Zola meeting for Chelsea mad cancer survivor

"I can't believe I got to meet the legend!"

Italian football legend Gianfranco Zola gave an 18-year-old cancer survivor the surprise of his life in a special meeting at Stamford Bridge.

Ed Garside, from Priorslee in Telford, had travelled to Chelsea Football Club's home ground in London where he thought he was sharing his story about surviving cancer.

The former Idsall School pupil was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia on his eighth birthday.

After three years of treatment and intensive chemotherapy he was given the all-clear when he was eleven years old.

WATCH the video here:

Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola surprises Blues fan and cancer survivor

Ed, who grew up supporting Chelsea, thought he was headed to the Premier League club's ground to talk about his experience as part of the partnership between Stand Up To Cancer and Hyundai – global partner to Chelsea Football Club.

Little did he know, he was in for a big surprise.


In a meeting that was filmed for Stand Up To Cancer, Zola, Chelsea’s assistant manager, surprised Ed and presented him with tickets to the Chelsea vs Manchester United match tomorrow, courtesy of Hyundai.

Ed Garside and Gianfranco Zola

The former Italy international described Ed as an inspiration to others.

He said: "It’s always good to meet fans but I was especially excited to meet Ed today.


He's been through a lot and at a very young age. And he's using his experience to help others and raise awareness of Stand Up To Cancer's work – he's selfless and an inspiration to us all. Seeing the look on his face was very pleasing.

"It was an honour to hear how Chelsea has been important to him over the years. I’m really happy he will be at the Bridge to watch us play Man U on Saturday.”

Ed enjoys a kick-around with Chelsea hero Zola

Ed, who played football for the Junior Shifnal Harriers, as well as for his school team, is currently studying History at the University of Reading and still plays football at every given opportunity.

As well as going to see the game tomorrow, Ed will have his photo and a special mention in the matchday programme.

Ed said he was thrilled to have had the chance to meet the legendary Chelsea striker.

Ed Garside and Gianfranco Zola chat in the Chelsea dug outs

He said: "I had literally zero idea that Zola was going to turn up to see me – so far as I was concerned I was just having a tour of the ground. I can’t believe I got to meet the legend, Zola!

"I grew up supporting Chelsea and Zola is an absolute hero. He even invited me to have a kickaround with him.

"I remember being told I had cancer like it was yesterday. Going through my treatment was really tough, the chemotherapy made me feel really ill and all my hair fell out.

"I was so excited to be able to start playing football again once I was cancer-free.

"Now I never take for granted the feeling of running onto the pitch. I can’t wait to go to the Bridge to watch Chelsea v Man United – come on you Blues!”

Ed and the former Italy striker

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint national fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 that raises funds for ground-breaking research that will save lives.

To date, the campaign has raised more than £38million, funding 35 trials and projects involving more than 8,000 cancer patients and supporting one international Dream Team.

Stand Up To Cancer airs from 7pm on Friday, October 26 on Channel 4.

As official partner to both Stand Up To Cancer and Chelsea, Hyundai will be supporting Stand Up To Cancer’s fundraising efforts by donating its match day rights for Saturday’s Chelsea fixture vs Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Date: 18 October 2018 | Source: Shropshire Star

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