Amla: ‘I am humbled to be his hero’

2012-10-25 00:00

HIS broad smile, tears in his eyes and loss for words told the story of a little boy’s dream come true.

Yesterday, in New Germany, Naemo Abdullah (7) from Benoni lived his dream when he met and played cricket with Hashim Amla, his hero.

Naemo suffers from a kidney disease which was diagnosed when he had an appendix operation at age five. He currently has dialysis every second week but, according to his mom Mieta, “it doesn’t stop him running around and getting involved in sport and activities.”

Amla is his hero and whenever the great batsman is at the crease, “Naemo is glued to the television. He does not move while Hashim is batting,” said Mohammed, Naemo’s dad.

That Naemo’s dream came true was thanks to the Reach for a Dream Foundation. Said Kathy Upton, the organisation’s project co-ordinator in Johannesburg: “We visit various hospitals and clinics, where we connect with children and their families.

“We ask a child what their three best dreams would be and, once an assessment is done and the child chosen, the plan swings into action. Naemo’s ultimate was to meet Hashim and, thanks to him being SMJ Beverages’ brand ambassador, the dream has come true.”

The company paid for Naemo and his parents, plus Kathy, to fly to Durban on Tuesday, spend the night and meet Amla yesterday.

“Naemo was so excited when the foundation phoned on Monday to say we were going to Durban to meet Hashim.

“He has not stopped smiling and it’s a special moment for the whole family,” said Mieta.

Amla arrived and spent more than an hour with Naemo and staff of the company. Everyone bowled at him but no-one got him out. However, the cherry on top was batting and bowling with Naemo.

Said Amla, “I am blessed to be good at cricket and to take time out for something like this makes me realise what an impact I have as a cricketer on children.

“I am humbled he sees me as his hero and I take inspiration from him. Here is a little guy who has faced extreme challenges in his young life, yet he has such a high spirit and never stops smiling. I can learn from him.”

Naemo, a pupil at Pioneer Primary School in Benoni, was made to feel special.

“I love Hashim Amla and am happy he came to see me. He is my best player and I will tell all my friends at school that he played cricket with me,” he said.

While it was a special occasion for Naemo, it was something his parents would also not forget.

“This trip has been amazing. It is the first time ever on a plane for me and Mieta, and the first time we have ever seen the sea.

“We were up early to go and put our feet in the water. My work colleagues could not believe I was flying to Durban to personally meet Hashim Amla. It’s been a family affair to treasure forever,” said Mohammed.

Ismail Kajee, the CEO of SMJ, said the company was more than willing to help Naemo’s dream come alive. “It’s the least we can do.

“We get joy out of seeing what we can do for others, especially young children. We have because we give, and the delight on Naemo’s face says it all.”

Naemo was given an autographed bat, a mini cricket set and a framed one-day international shirt worn and signed by Amla.

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