Father and son who underwent kidney transplant ordeal win tickets to see Grimsby Town at Wembley
THE biggest cheer from the 18,000 Grimsby Town fans at Wembley tomorrow will come from father and son Jon and Ben Cox after a successful kidney transplant gave the son the gift of life.
Jon, 48, donated a kidney to 22-year-old Ben, who underwent the operation due to a very rare genetic condition which blocks proteins and restricts growth.
There are only about 2,000 people suffering from incurable cystinosis in the world.
When bosses at Grimsby Town invited fans to let them know of deserving causes to receive two free Wembley tickets, they chose Ben and his dad Jon.
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Tickets for the game were donated by The Artie White foundation from an anonymous benefactor.
Ben, who qualified as a chef at Grimsby Institute, had previously been on dialysis for 10 hours-a-night.
But thanks to the new kidney he received in October and the surgeons at the University of Leeds Hospital, Ben said: "It has improved my life loads.
"I want to go back to work because I feel better and I am no longer out of breath climbing the steps of the Findus stand when I go to watch Grimsby Town."
"It was great to get the news from dad that we were off to Wembley."
Ben, a former pupil at the Lindsey School, in Cleethorpes, said his illness had limited his performance in his GCSEs and although a mad-keen football fan, he was unable to pursue the sport.
He also wanted to join the Army but was unable to reach the medical fitness level required.
Ben said: "Even after training as a chef I found it difficult because I had to be home in order to get on the dialysis machine. It takes 10 hours at night and it is dead loud."
He said he is now encountering problems with his liver, but is determined to get to Wembley where he predicted a 3-0 win for Grimsby with the first goal scored by Andy Cook.
Jon said: "Ben has had a rough ride. I am very happy for him and rang him up as soon as I got the message we had the free tickets. He was very happy with the call and asked 101 questions of all the ins and outs of going to Wembley."
Jon took Ben along to Blundell Park from the age of six years and they have also been season ticket holders.
Co-ordinator of The Artie White Foundation, Dave Boylen, said: "We are delighted the gift has gone to such a deserving case."
Dale Ladson, marketing officer said: "There were quite a few who deserved the chance to go to Wembley and it was a tough choice, but Ben and Jon deserved it the most and we are extremely grateful to the person who gave the tickets for free."
COME on Town!
Wembley will see a sea of black and white flood through its gates tomorrow as the Mighty Mariner army flocks to England’s footballing home.
Always a fantastic occasion and a top reason for a day or weekend away in the capital.
Town fans need a reason to cheer and this is certainly one...so just for tomorrow, forget about their fight to regain league status or their current dip in form, and shout and cheer them to what we hope will be a great Wembley performance.
Cup final games like this are real family occasions and prove just how football can bring people together for the right reasons.
Over the last few days we have read some heartwarming tales linked to this Wembley trip, all which bring a smile!
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