Anthony Borges, who played at the new Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale, for two months in 2016, Florida, has received a club shirt signed by the first team players this week. And it’s a gesture that he most certainly deserves. For the 15-year-old of Venezuelan origin is a true hero.
He goes to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, the scene of tragedy this week when a former pupil shot dead 14 students and three staff members and injured several others.
Anthony received five bullet shots in the back and limbs as he helped 20 classmates to take refuge in one of the rooms while holding the door – and thanks to his gallantry the death toll, horrific as it already is, was not much higher.
Now in hospital recovering, one of Anthony’s greatest dreams has always been to travel to Barcelona and meet the first team players. And as the club told his father Royer on the phone this week, it would be more than happy to help with that.
It was journalist Santiago Segurola who set things in motion. He informed the club of the situation, and Barça immediately offered the support of its own medical services to help ensure that Anthony gets all the surgery he needs to get back to enjoying one of his greatest passions, playing soccer, as soon as possible.
The image of Anthony in hospital hand-in-hand with Sheriff Scott Israel went viral on social networks, and drew the attention of the Barça players, who expressed their best wishes on an official first team jersey and sent it his way.
Royer Borges has opened a crowdfunding site on go.fund.me to raise money for his son’s medical expenses and the response has been wonderful. He has already received half a million dollars and Barça is helping by offering its own media to get the message out.
“I want to thank everyone for their donations to the go.fund.me site” he said. “Because my son needs time to recover and it’s well known that medical bills are very high. I need help, and for people to give us a bit of money so we can be a bit calmer.”
Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale
The Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale, the first to open in country in 2014, was proud to hear about Anthony’s heroic deeds, and sent a message of sport encouraging him to stay strong.
The academy is currently working with 159 boys and girls of different ages on its site at Central Broward Regional Park.