For most people, getting to see your favourite team and meet the players is a dream come true.
In the case of Rob Barrie—a man with Motor Neurone Disease who made the trip from the United Kingdom to Pittsburgh so he could see the Penguins play—one of the best nights of his life quickly turned into a nightmare.
After Barrie’s family raised money over the course of months to fund the trip, he got to watch the Penguins win 4-3 in comeback fashion over the Vegas Golden Knights Dec. 1. On top of that, Barrie got to meet Penguins forward Ryan Rust and was given signed sticks from both him and club legend Sidney Crosby.
On his way back to Manchester, the two sticks were checked in before his British Airways flight, but the bag containing the twigs was empty when he landed back home.
"When I met him at the airport he was just sobbing his eyes out," said his mother Lynn to local media. "This was Rob's dream trip and he has been planning it for months. He is very unwell and for Rob to fly all the way there took so much out of him. He pushed himself to the limit but it was the chance of a lifetime.”
Fortunately, British Airways were able to track down the sticks, which they say never left the Pittsburgh airport. Barrie's mother, Lynn, was excited to hear that the trip was ultimately not in vain.
"We had been hoping they would turn up then I got a call from British Airways to say that they had found them I could not believe it I just started shouting out to Rob.
"They will be home before Christmas which is all Rob cares about. When they were lost and he was broken-hearted he felt like some part of him was missing but now the journey is complete."
According to the National Health Service, Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is "a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system. This leads to muscle weakness, often with visible wasting. MND happens when specialist nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, called motor neurones, stop working properly and die prematurely. This is known as neurodegeneration."
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of MND.
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