Readers make Robert’s dream come true

Robert Smith with his mum Rita Smith who are thanking Citizen readers who have donated gifts to Robert to go and see wrestling at Nottingham
Robert Smith with his mum Rita Smith who are thanking Citizen readers who have donated gifts to Robert to go and see wrestling at Nottingham

Disabled Robert Smith is set for a dream date later this month thanks to the kindness of strangers.

He will be taking a trip to the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham to watch the WWE Raw World Tour and also meet some of the stars of the show.

The plight of the 24-year-old, whose condition has left him bedridden, touched the hearts of Citizen readers when he was featured on the front of the Citizen last month with a plea from his mum Rita to help make his dream trip to see American wrestling come true.

Robert suffers from Proteus Syndrome, the same disease that affected John Merrick known as the ‘elephant man’, and also has a growth condition which means that despite being around 8ft tall he is still growing.

He is unable to stand or support himself and because of his size it is difficult for mum Rita to take Robert out in a wheelchair.

He has been mad keen on WWE Wrestling since he was a little boy and has always wanted to see it live, but again Robert’s size and health makes getting any where difficult.

Rita appealed for help in transporting Robert to the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham to see his favourite fighters including John Cena compete.

And offers of help and support flooded in. Taxi firms and private individuals all offered transport for Robert, care home staff volunteered their time to help care for Robert on the trip, people sent in anonymous donations to help fund the outing and local charitable organisations, Wisbech Lions and Wisbech Rotary, each offered to provide £100 spending money for Robert and his entourage.

The Citizen contacted the Capital FM Arena to explain about Robert’s dream and they kindly offered to donate four tickets for Robert and his family in an executive suite for the show on April 23.

And the wrestling promoters were happy to offer Robert the chance to meet some of his heroes before the show.

Rita said: “I just can’t believe how kind people have been. Robert never complains and never asks for anything. But this is something he has always wanted to do and he is so excited. It really is a dream come true and I would just like to thank everyone for their generosity, we are speechless that people can be that kind.”

Among the offers of transport was one from paramedic Adrian White, who offered to give up his day off along with a colleague to travel with Robert. He has managed to persuade his bosses to provide a non-emergency ambulance for Robert to travel in.

Rita chose Adrian’s offer out of the many because of Robert’s health issues as she felt it would be good to have someone with medical knowledge on hand just in case.