A TEENAGER with a life-threatening heart condition is going on his dream holiday next month – thanks to a generous Elland businessman.
Joe Green, 14, is jetting off to Disney World in Florida with his parents, Matthew and Adele and siblings, Niall, 10, Tom, nine, Lucy, six and Claudia, three.
The family have not been able to afford a holiday for years, and say they will never be able to thank Tony Abbott enough for his generous gesture.
Tony, 41, is the managing director of The Reactiv Group based in Elland, where 34-year-old Adele works as HR manager and he turned “dream-maker”.
He surprised 26 of his staff at the company’s annual conference and ball at The Venue, Bowers Mill, this month by making their dreams come true.
Joe, who attends Hipperholme and Lightcliffe School, suffers from coarctation of the aorta, COA for short, a congenital defect that affects more boys than girls.
His aorta is twisted which prevents blood flowing around the lower half of his body properly and has resulted in him getting type 1 diabetes.
He gets shortness of breath, tires easily and has to watch his diet.
He had life-saving surgery five years ago and faces more major surgery in the next 18 months.
Adele says her number one dream has always been for someone to find a cure for Joe’s condition.
“I know this is not possible, so when I was asked at work to write down my dream I said a family trip to Florida while Joe is still young and relatively healthy enough to enjoy it.”
She and husband Matthew were stunned when Tony handed them an envelope containing flight tickets, hotel accommodation and passes for Disney and Universal Studios.
“We were both in tears and overwhelmed by Tony’s kindness. It took days to settle in. We’ve looked at a family holiday to Florida in the past but it was out of our price range.
“Now we are going and the children are counting down the days and are so excited,” said Matthew, 34, who claims Joe’s condition is similar to that of professional footballer, Fabrice Muamba.
The Bolton midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest during a match at Tottenham Hotspur in March this year and has had surgery, but faces more time in the operating theatre. Tony, who is a Spurs fan, was at the game and says it had a profound affect on him.
“Joe plays rugby with my son, Harris, and is a super kid. As soon as I read Adele’s dream I know I wanted to do something to help the family.”
He founded his fast-growing multi-million pound business, The Reactiv Group, based in Elland five years ago, and believes everyone should have their own dream, and never let go of it.
So the 41-year-old father-of-two spent thousands of pounds of his own money rewarding some of his hard-working staff by making their dreams come true.
Another worker will be reunited with his children after being handed plane tickets to Australia.
Chris Murgatroyd, 32, who works in sales, has not seen his three children, Leah, Jessica and Lennon, for a long number of years.
They live in Perth, Australia with his ex-partner but later this year he will have a tearful reunion with them.
Other dreams ranged from a pair of leggings with “no holes in” for Claudia Lensky, to a make-up bag full of Chanel products for Amy Priestley.
Cathryn Holness got the UGG boots she could never afford, Steve Storey got a 3D TV while Matthew Ryan made his wife, Christina, happy by getting her the large diamond she had always longed for.
Tony said: “The best bit about my job is being able to give something back and the only way this company is going to grow is by being a family and working together”.