- Young Hammer Joel Window was rushed to hospital in North Carolina last week
- Joel, two, was born prematurely to parents and West Ham United fans Dean and Janice
- Four players and coach Julian Dicks visited Duke University Children's Hospital in North Carolina
The two-year-old son of Hammers fans Dean - a former Season Ticket Holder who now lives in the United States - and Janice was rushed to Duke University Children's Hospital, where the family received the morale-boosting visit from the group, which also included the Carolina RailHawks' Steven Miller.
Dean told the visitors of young Joel's health issues since being born prematurely nearly three years ago. The brave Hammer was born with severe aortic stenosis, a congenital heart defect that obstructs blood flow from the heart to the body.
Joel's circumstances took a turn for the worse last week, when he was rushed to hospital, and a #helpjoel social media campaign for the Hammers to visit him and raise awareness of the condition went viral.
While Joel and his family face huge challenges, the Windows were given a welcome boost to their spirits by meeting some of their heroes in Claret and Blue.
"To everyone who shared the #helpjoel hashtag, contacted both clubs and purged their contact lists to make today happen for my boy, my family can't thank you enough," said Dean, who was clearly moved, particularly by the thrill of meeting his all-time favourite Dicks.*
"Seeing Julian Dicks, Adrian, Mark Noble, Winston Reid and Raphael Spiegel from West Ham, Steven Miller from the Carolina Railhawks and the many others who were part of the party who came to visit my sick son hospital because of the amazing reaction on the Internet, today my family come before you incredibly humbled.
"Between Twitter, West Ham United, Carolina Railhawks and some incredible people (including one of my favourite footballers) you not only made our son famous but you showed just how much our little boy is loved and how many people are actually pulling for him."