Soccer has always been wish kid Alan’s favorite sport to watch with his family. Together, they have spent many late nights and early mornings watching FC Barcelona, and Alan’s favorite player Lionel Messi.
“My family was really into World Cup events and other soccer tournaments, which we watched together,” said Alan.
That family time activity played a large part when Alan was considering his wish, so when he decided to go to Barcelona to see his favorite team play, he was excited his entire family would come too.
“I didn’t believe my wish was coming true until they picked us up that morning,” said Alan. “It was a strange feeling, but we were all really excited.”
For Alan and his family, there were a lot of first time things.
"It was the first time on an airplane for me and my siblings, and now they are always talking about airplanes,” he said. "We traveled to Barcelona to explore museums, famous churches and the beach. There were two churches that we saw, one was named La Sagrada Familia and the other was Barcelona Cathedral, which is a gothic style church; they were amazing to see."
Alan and his family visited the FC Barcelona museum where they were able to see the trophies and cups won by the team, as well as player and team photos, an art gallery, football memorabilia, and most importantly the stadium itself.
Alan's big surprise was a jersey signed by no other than Messi himself!
“Getting the jersey meant so much, Messi is my favorite player and having a jersey signed by him made the trip,” said Alan. “At first I thought it was just a regular team jersey from their 2010 season, but then I was told to look at it carefully and realized that it was marked somehow. I even stood still for a bit trying to process if it was real or not, it was an amazing feeling.”
On game day, the family was sporting their FC Barcelona jerseys as they cheered on their favorite team!
“It was so different watching a soccer game in Barcelona,” said Alan. “The fans are much more into it and wouldn’t stop signing and chanting."
The stadium alone left a lasting impression on Alan. “The mood of the stadium was something else; you became passionate even if you don’t love soccer. You can tell the fans are loyal to their team - you could hear it in their songs."
FC Barcelona didn’t disappoint because they won 6-0.
"It was their best game yet!” said an excited Alan. "We ended up memorizing their songs, and sung them days after the game."
Now that the trip is over, Alan's family often reflects on how the trip has helped them recover from the chaos of having a child with a serious illness.
“It’s great to see the support people have to wish kids, making it possible for things like a trip to Barcelona to happen,” said Alan. “The whole trip helped us to get our minds off of stressful moments that come with living with cancer, which was ultimately what I wanted when I was given the option of a wish."
Alan was also glad he decided on a wish that the entire family could enjoy.
“I wanted them to relax and forget with me, they sacrificed their time for me when I was ill," he said. “Now every time we see airplanes, we always look up and comment ‘look that could be us up there!' We like to talk about how fun the trip was, and I always wish I was back there!”