Liverpool fan walking on with hope in her heart

Former Liverpool player Luis Garcia signing an autograph for Reds fan Lauren Ong. The Make-A-Wish Foundation will be paying for Lauren and her family to watch a home game at Anfield.
Former Liverpool player Luis Garcia signing an autograph for Reds fan Lauren Ong. The Make-A-Wish Foundation will be paying for Lauren and her family to watch a home game at Anfield.PHOTO: STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

What Liverpool fan Lauren Ong enjoys about supporting the English football club is the togetherness that binds supporters, and the feeling of being part of a wider family that bleeds red.

Yesterday, the 16-year-old got the thrill of her life when she met some "family members" at a signing session at Suntec City.

Obliging autograph and picture requests were former Reds players Luis Garcia, Gary McAllister and Ian Rush.

The trio are in town as part of LFC World, a fan experience tour presented by club sponsor Standard Chartered Bank.

The Dunman High School student said: "It felt quite odd because it's so different from seeing them on television. And then suddenly they're right in front of you.

"The experience makes the Liverpool spirit all the more tangible and realistic."

HOLDING THEIR HEADS UP HIGH

The club's slogan 'You'll Never Walk Alone' resonates with me and my family. It showed me no matter what you go through you'll never go through that alone.

LAUREN ONG, Liverpool fan, on her affinity with the Merseyside club.

Her haul from the day included pictures with the players and autographs on printed photos.

The Liverpool experience is about to get better for Lauren, who was introduced to the club by father Joe about four years ago.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, is fulfilling her wish of watching a match at Anfield with her family.

Lauren was diagnosed with stage four rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer, in 2014, and after a bone marrow transplant this year, is on the road to recovery.

The Ongs are expected to travel to Merseyside next month to soak in Anfield's famous atmosphere.

"The club's slogan, You'll Never Walk Alone, resonates with me and my family. It showed me no matter what you go through you'll never go through that alone," said Lauren, whose favourite player is former Reds captain Steven Gerrard.

"I'm really grateful to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for granting my wish, and to the paediatric oncology team at National University Hospital for their help.

"It's my first time going to Anfield and I'm really excited."

Chua Siang Yee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 06, 2016, with the headline 'Liverpool fan walking on with hope in her heart'. Print Edition | Subscribe