Lurgan Bhoy Jay Beatty has been praised by the Health Minister of Greece for raising awareness of Downs Syndrome.
The 11-year-old received a special letter from Greece’s deputy Health Minister Katerina Papacosta thanking him for raising the flag ‘against the stigma and the marginalisation suffered by children who are different’.
The Celtic fan became a Greek sensation during the World Cup by backing the home team of his idol, former Celtic star Georgios Samaras.
Jay and his family were invited by the Greek FA to a game in Brazil.
The Minister sent an open letter to little Jay and his family. “Thank you for promoting in my country the change of attitudes and reduce the stigma against children, teenagers and adults like you,” the deputy minister wrote to 11-year-old Jay, who has Down’s Syndrome.
“I would like to congratulate you, your family and your teachers who support you,” Papakosta wrote in the letter, which Jay’s father Martin posted on his Facebook page.
Martin told the ‘MAIL’, for weeks he has received dozens of calls from Greek news channels and reporters requesting interviews. “At times the whole thing was really overwhelming,” said Martin.
“We received a call one morning from the health minister in Greece thanking us for helping to make a big difference in the country with raising the profile of Down Syndrome. This was followed up by an official letter. This phone call and letter meant the world to us. When Jay was born, as parents, we made a promise to him we would do all we could to ensure he was treated the same as other children and, stigmas and barriers that existed, we would try to break down,” said Martin.
“The people of Lurgan have been so supportive of our son and our charity and we are so grateful for this support and would like to thank you all. We made a promise to Jay that we would try to make a difference. Little did we know that our son would be the one making the difference in countries throughout the world.”