Appeal for young family of Manchester United worker and local hero who has died from rare disease.
In January of this year, Robert Wood was placed on the liver transplant list. Robert, a 34-year-old dad of three young children, was born with Glycogen Storage Disease, a condition that needs to be carefully managed. Tragically, he passed away on 28 September. His young family are now under financial pressure and this campaign has been launched to raise money for the children’s future. I am trying to raise as much money as possible to create a fund to support the children for the next few years. I originally aimed to raise a minimum of £5,000 and I am so grateful for your support so far.
The full story:
Rob was a devoted father, husband, Manchester United worker and fundraiser. This tragedy has left my 34-year-old sister Jenny a widow with 19-month-old twins Freddie and Archie and 6-year-old Caitlin.
Rob was born with Glycogen Storage Disease. Known as GSD3a or Cori Disease it is a rare genetic condition that affects the way the body stores sugars, resulting in liver damage and physical disability. Only a handful of people have this condition in the UK and it requires specialist care. Rob was under the care of several hospitals in Manchester, London and Birmingham. In January 2020 he was placed on the liver transplant list.
When COVID-19 spread throughout the UK, Rob's appointments were postponed or carried out by phone. His health deteriorated and he experienced pain in his liver. The absence of face-to-face appointments with his specialists meant that health professionals didn't initially recognise his symptoms were connected to his illness.
His untimely death means my sister, niece and nephews are under immense financial pressure. Rob could not get life insurance because of his health condition. Jenny doesn't have a lot of money and does not want the children to struggle. The twins were only born last year. Jenny is unable to grieve because she is so worried about money. She just needs a breathing space. I have set up this page to see if it's possible to raise some money to help support them.
Rob spent his life caring for and helping others. He joined St John's Ambulance Brigade aged 6 and went on to join the British Red Cross where as a teenager he was awarded the accolade of the Red Cross First Aid Shield. During his career at Manchester United, he also served as a first aider.
In 1998 John Major presented him with a ‘Child of Achievement’ award for the bravery and determination he showed to get the most out of life and to reach his full potential. There's a video of Rob, aged 12, talking about it here.
Rob went to train as a ChildLine mentor to address bullying and violence in schools and at aged 17 raised money for Children in Need by playing 18 holes of golf dressed as Pudsey Bear.
In his late teens he set up The Leominster Youth Project to provide up to 50 young people a week with football and table tennis lessons free of charge.
When he was 21, he landed his dream job at Manchester United. He worked at the football club for 13 years again looking after the needs of others, in this case the sponsors and VIPs in his role on the Executive Club team.
During his funeral procession, it was clear how many people loved him. As the coffin passed Manchester United's Football Ground, the streets were lined with people clapping. You can watch a video of it here. After his family, his biggest love was Manchester United.
Rob spent his life helping and caring for others. It is perhaps an irony that the people closest to him need a bit of help now that he's gone. It's not in Jenny's nature to ask for help but she really does need it, so I am asking for her. I want to take some of the stress away. I'm hoping to raise a minimum of £5,000 for the family to contribute towards the children's future but any contribution will make a huge difference to their situation, which is why I have set this campaign so all funds will be received by the family even if we do not hit the target. If you can support them, please do. They are devastated and shocked by Rob's early death.