A HIBS-MAD football mascot has been left crying foul after thieves stole his Christmas presents as he led his team out against Celtic.
Ryan Borthwick, from Loganlea Loan, who suffers from the blood-clotting illness haemophilia, was overjoyed to proudly lead his Easter Road heroes out ahead of their 1-0 win on Saturday, December 29.
The brave eight-year-old even won a race against time to make the match, having been hospitalised by the condition before the big day.
However, he later saw what should have been his happiest day turn into a nightmare after finding housebreakers had ransacked the family’s property, making off with a haul of presents belonging to him and six-year-old sister Caitlin.
Expensive gifts such as a PlayStation3 computer console, a Wii game console, and an iPod, as well as the family’s two televisions and a laptop computer, were all taken by the crooks.
Mum Liza, 30, who bought Ryan the £150 Hibs mascot package as a Christmas present, said: “In an instant it went from the best day of his wee life to the worst. He had been so looking forward to the day and meeting the players and he was beaming from ear to ear leaving Easter Road. That soon changed when we got home at around 6.45pm.
“I hope that we weren’t targeted by someone who knew that we would be at the match. Ryan is devastated by it.”
The thieves entered the ground-floor flat by breaking through a window in the bathroom – then snub-locked the front door to ensure they would not be disturbed while they helped themselves to presents.
Liza added: “As soon as I felt the door had been snubbed I knew something was up because my mother’s house was robbed when we were young and I never forgot that the robbers did the same thing then.
“I ended up having to kick the door in. The kids were hysterical and refused to sleep in the house for the first few nights afterwards. The whole thing hasn’t just ruined our Christmas, but our New Year too.”
Craigentinny Primary pupil Ryan was born with the blood disorder haemophilia, forcing him to spend one day a month in hospital being treated with Factor 8 injections for pain and internal bleeding caused by even the slightest knock.
Leading up to the game, he suffered a bleed in his foot which required hospital treatment and feared missing his big moment.
Liza said: “He really does suffer quite badly with his haemophilia, that’s why I was so glad to have arranged it for him. His face was priceless, meeting all the players. It’s so sad that memory has been ruined forever.”
However, a slice of good fortune has been provided by the Easter Road club, who have arranged for a signed jersey to be presented to the youngster by one of the players.
A Hibs spokesman said: “Everybody at the club was saddened to learn what happened to Ryan and his family. So we’ve invited him back to Easter Road for our next home match against Dundee on January 19 in order to receive a shirt signed by the whole squad which will be presented to Ryan by one of the players.
“Hopefully that will bring him a little New Year cheer after what has been a very difficult time for him and his family.”
A police spokesman said: “We are appealing for information following a housebreaking at a property in Loganlea Loan some time between midday and 6.30pm on Saturday, December 29.
“Inquiries are ongoing, and we are urging anyone with any information to contact us on 0131-311 3131.”
Dangers of inherited condition
Haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder, where essential clotting factors required for blood to clot normally are lacking.
These clotting factors are proteins that work with platelets (specific small blood cells) to allow the blood to clot. They help the platelets to stick together to plug cuts and breaks.
As the blood does not clot normally, bleeding episodes will last longer, bruising occurs after minor knocks and bumps, and spontaneous bleeding may occur.
The treatment involves injections of drugs designed to help blood clot.
The amount of therapy required depends on the type of haemophilia, age, the site and severity of bleeding, weight and whether the person has developed an antibody that neutralises or knocks out the activity of the clotting factors.