Friday 06 October 2023, 12:00

"Keep fighting Ian" - Football Unites the World in Kiel

  • Football Unites the World in Kiel

  • 2nd Bundesliga match was the heart-warming scene for a donation appeal

  • Hertha Berlin’s Fabian Reese returned to his old club to support 16-year old Ian

It was 'only' a brief moment after the final whistle on the side lines of a second division match in Germany. But one with a lot of emotion. The final whistle had just blown at the end of the 2nd Bundesliga clash between Holstein Kiel and Hertha BSC Berlin when Hertha player Fabian Reese was handed a black plastic bucket. The former Kiel player carried the bucket across the pitch to the West Stand at his old stomping ground wearing a blue T-shirt with the inscription "Fight, Ian".

There, the 25-year-old handed over the bucket in which the visiting fans had collected donations for 16-year-old KSV fan Ian, who suffers from lymphoma. In the appeal for donations before the game, the Sektion Fördestadt reported that the boy's mother would no longer be able to carry out most of her current work commitments due to her son’s upcoming therapy appointments in hospital. Every euro collected would support the family. The Kiel fan scene had announced that they would be collecting donations before the match, and Hertha BSC had also referred to the campaign in their pre-match fan travel information.

It was a nice gesture and a tidy sum was raised. I can only take my hat off. Football becomes totally secondary. Separated by (shirt) colours, united in cause. That feels quite apt.

Fabian Reese

"I am simply overwhelmed. My son is proud to be a fan of this great club. Many, many thanks," Ian's father wrote in gratitude to the many donors via Facebook shortly afterwards. Postscript: Hertha won the match 3:2 thanks to a penalty kick by Reese in injury time. Born in Kiel and active for the first eight years of his youth career with Holstein, Reese had returned to his hometown club for three years in 2020. This time, he introduced himself as a Hertha player and delivered a memorable performance. On, and off the pitch.

Football Unites the World