THIS week marks the first anniversary since the launch of our Joseph’s Goal charity - and what a year it has been.
Not only have the biggest names of the sporting world been wearing light blue wristbands but Joseph himself made history as Wigan Athletic’s lucky FA Cup mascot.
A cast of thousands of generous Wiganers have backed the campaign to raise awareness of Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH) with sponsored moustaches, bike rides and runs to name just a few.
And perhaps most importantly, your efforts have helped the work of medical experts researching the rare genetic disorder Joseph suffers from.
Joseph’s proud dad Paul, our Latics correspondent, spoke of the overwhelming impact the campaign has had.
He said: “We’ve achieved so much and come so far. As time’s gone on, Joseph’s Goal has gathered so much momentum and it’s thanks to the help and support from so many people that we’ve reached the point we have.
“Seeing Joseph leading out Wigan Athletic for the FA Cup final was just incredible. And it was amazing to have so many fans come up to me while we were in Bruges Square telling my family what Joseph’s Goal means to them. We had people in tears, that shows what an impact it has had.”
Paul and wife Emma were told after Joseph was born that he may not make it out of hospital but the brave youngster proved to be a little fighter.
The fund-raising efforts continue later this month with a sponsored bike ride to Blackpool hoping to follow on from the success of the Joseph’s Goal team that ran in the Wigan 10k in September.
Both Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic have been spurred on to success since their captains became Joseph’s Goal ambassadors.
Paul added: “Joseph continues to do well, he recently started school five days a week having done a couple of days a week last year.
“He inspires us every single day and is undoubtedly the driving force behind the campaign to find a cure for NKH. We’re so proud of him.”
The campaign was given a major boost earlier this year when the Kendricks were informed that as a direct result of the money raised by Joseph’s Goal, researchers at the University of Colorado, led by NKH expert Dr Johan Van Hove, had been able to take on another member of staff to help with their research.
And with the unwavering support of so many Wiganers, it appears this year will serve to be a launch pad for significant progress in the future.
Paul said: ”Seeing photographs of Joseph with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jessica Ennis shows we’re making strides on a national level as well.
“We’re making real progress and hopefully the next year will be even bigger and better for Joseph’s Goal.”