Five-year old Nottingham Forest fan will be a mascot for Saturday’s game

A young Nottingham Forest fan who is severely disabled with a life-limiting condition will be a mascot for Saturday’s game.

Five-year old Isaac Smith will be carried by his father, Andy, in to the middle of the City Ground during half-time at the match between Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers. His nine-year-old sister, Connie, will also be by his side. The dream is being made a reality thanks to a partnership between Nottingham Forest Football Club and Rainbows. We have supported the Loscoe family for six months.

This season, the Notts team has adopted us as its charity of the year. There will also be bucket collections for donations before the game and after the full-time whistle on Saturday.

Just five years ago, Andy, of Loscoe, was minutes away from losing his wife Rachael and unborn baby Isaac during a difficult labour. Two days before Rachael (40) was due to have an elected C-Section, she woke in the night with the most horrendous pains. Thinking she was in early labour, Rachael went to the hospital. By the time she arrived, she was unable to walk and was taken straight to theatre for emergency surgery. Medics discovered her placenta had ruptured which caused mass hemorrhaging.

Rachel lost seven pints of blood and unborn baby Isaac was being starved of oxygen. When Isaac was born, it took 20 minutes to resuscitate him. The lack of oxygen resulted in brain damage leaving Isaac with spastic quadriplegia, the most severe form of cerebral palsy. Later, Andy was told that had they got to the hospital five minutes later, neither Rachel nor Isaac would have survived.

“Every day we were told that the next 24 hours were critical for Isaac,” said Rachael.

“In the early days, we had no idea what journey we were about to go on. The most painful thing was realising how close we came to losing him. When I came round from surgery and Isaac wasn’t there, it was heartbreaking and the first time I saw him was when a nurse showed me a photo. I was then wheeled from my bed in Intensive Care and taken to him. He was in an incubator connected to so many wires and leads that we could only hold his tiny hand and it was days before I could even hold him.

“Isaac was just so vulnerable and living from one day to the next. Our hearts were in our mouths every day just not knowing what the day would bring and if our little boy was going to survive.”

Now aged five, Isaac can’t do anything independently and relies on round the clock care. He is unable to walk or talk, suffers from epilepsy and is visually impaired. He takes daily medication and has endless medical appointments. Despite all the challenges Isaac faces, he is such a happy little boy. He can hear what is going on around him and he loves to smile and laugh. “Seeing the courage Isaac has shown gives us all the strength we need to carry on and make his life the best it can be,” said Racheal.

Rachael and Andy, who also have two daughters, Connie (nine) and two-year-old Violet, discovered Rainbows this summer. Rachael said: “It is just amazing. As soon as we walked through the doors, we felt the support. We had gone from nothing to somewhere where everyone will go above and beyond to help the whole family. “We don’t know what is around the corner for us but I think that’s a blessing or we’d struggle some days to face the day ahead. We just try to take one day at a time.”

Andy added: “Everyone at Rainbows will do whatever they can to ensure families like ours are always able to create everlasting happy memories. For me as a father, this Saturday is an incredible opportunity and something that we, as a family, will treasure. Isaac will never be able to kick a ball or run around a field but to experience the atmosphere on Saturday will be the next best thing for him.”