Carlisle United are pleased to confirm that former-Blue Tony Hopper and his family will be our guests of honour at the Portsmouth home fixture on Saturday 25 February.
Tony [or Hoppy as he is known to United’s fans] was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of Motor Neurone Disease known as Bulbar MND – a life-limiting illness with an average prognosis of 2-3 years from onset of symptoms.
Speaking to the official website this week, Sue Hopper said: “Tony has had the symptoms since May 2016 and he was diagnosed with Bulbar MND on 17 January this year.
“As you can imagine, this came as a huge shock to all of us. We talked about it as a family and we decided we wanted to help to raise awareness, and in particular we want to help to raise funds for research into the illness going forward from here.
“At the moment there is no treatment and no cure – when the diagnosis is made for this aggressive form of MND it’s basically a life sentence. Having looked into it over the past few weeks we’re finding that more and more young people, like Tony, are being affected by it.
“If we can do something to help the MND Association prevent others from having to go through this, then that will be a very good thing as far as we are concerned.”
“Initially we have set up a ‘gofundme’ page which is all about ‘Creating Hoppy Memories’ for our three beautiful boys [aged 4, 7 and 9],” she continued. “They adore their daddy, and he loves them to bits, so we want to make the next two years as special as possible for them.
“If we hit the target we’ll be able to take them to Disneyland, as long as Tony is well enough to travel, and that will be amazing for them. If we can do other things – well, that will be fantastic for us as well - because we want to give them some fond and happy memories which will last a lifetime.”
The Portsmouth home game at the end of this month will see the Hopper boys run out as match day mascots, with Tony and Sue enjoying full match day hospitality ahead of the game.
Tony will then take to the pitch at half time to make the Golden Gamble draw and to say thank you to the fans for the messages of support the family have already received.
“The reaction from everyone has been really humbling and overwhelming,” Sue said. “We are so grateful for the messages of support we’ve received and I know Tony has been overwhelmed by it as well.
“He loved his time playing for both Carlisle and Workington but I don’t think he ever expected so much genuine kindness. All I can ask is that as many people as possible come to the Portsmouth game to say hello and to give him a wave at half time. That would mean a huge amount to all of us.”
to visit the ‘Creating Hoppy Memories’ gofundme page and to leave a message of support or make a donation.
If you would like to help with fundraising for the MND Association - either with funds or an idea for an fundraising event - please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will reply with further details on how you can assist the Hopper family.
Thank you, from all of us, for your support of Tony and his family at this time.