Posted on January 21 2020
As a long-standing part of the Aviata family, we love to follow everything William Vanzela is doing. We spotted this article last week, which highlights some of the incredible work he is doing in the Baltimore area. In the article, he is listed as part of "The highest and lowest Maryland sports moments from the Past Decade." This is well worth a read!
Blast goalie bonds with young fan
The decade brought plenty of athletes to write about who did great things on and off the field. With this time of year focused on generosity and giving, I reflected on the story I wrote in the summer of 2018 about Blast goalie William Vanzela’s unique bond with one of his biggest fans.
At the time, Liam Fanning was 7 years old, a New Freedom, Pennsylvania, resident who was undergoing chemotherapy after having surgery to treat the bone cancer he was diagnosed with in his femur that February. Friends of the Fanning family reached out to the Blast requesting Vanzela send Liam a video message to provide encouragement, but the star goalie did more.
Shortly after helping the Blast capture the Major Arena Soccer League championship that spring, Vanzela made the trek to New Freedom to visit Liam in person.
It was a visit that has formed a lasting bond. With Vanzela rehabilitating from his own surgery from a torn adductor tendon in his groin, the two made a pinkie promise to work hard in recovery. The reward would be having Liam go to a Blast game the following season as Vanzela’s guest with the two walking out together during player introductions.
That game turned out to be the Blast’s 2018-19 season opener on Dec. 1 — Liam’s 8th birthday. Beforehand, Fanning friends organized the LiamStrong Bull Roast that included an auction, which Vanzela helped promote and collect auction items for. He and other Blast players attended the bull roast, which raised $40,000 to help Liam’s medical costs.
Find the complete article over at the Baltimore Sun.