When Pablo Zabaleta met Denis


During this time of huge pressure on our local hospitals, West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta took time out to give lifelong Hammers fan Denis, and the NHS staff supporting him, a morale-boosting call.

The Club’s recent pledge of support for local NHS trusts across East London and Essex committed to offering a dedicated set of fundraising initiatives, agreed in conjunction with NHS experts, and based on their views on how the Club can best support them in dealing with COVID-19.

So far, the Club has donated 500 replica home and away shirts to Barts Charity, to be distributed to patients and staff who are fans, provided signed shirts for auction and sent framed prints to each of the Trusts’ hospitals, signed by the West Ham United first team.

A big part of the partnership was to provide special experiences for patients and staff, at a time when they need it most. Denis, who is undergoing treatment at Newham University Hospital, has supported the Hammers for decades and staff from Barts Charity helped to arrange the conversation with Zabaleta, to help lift Denis’ spirits, giving the Club the chance to repay the support he has shown the Hammers throughout the years.

The Barts Charity appeal is providing £80,000 worth of iPads for patients in isolation wards to help them keep in touch with loved ones, £50,000 worth of funding for production of 3D-printable, reusable PPE visors and staff wellbeing hubs – spaces for staff to unwind and decompress – in each of the hospitals. The Charity is also working with the Trust on a plan to provide long term emotional and psychological support to staff.

If you would like to support Barts Charity’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal, donations can be made here.