Last month, a man terminally ill with cancer made a dying wish: To see his favorite soccer team, Wrexham AFC, and meet the owner, Ryan Reynolds. The fan, Jay Fear, died last week — but before he did, that dream came true.
Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney bought the team for $2.5 million in 2021, seemingly bringing it back to life with their star power. They filmed a documentary about the team, “Welcome to Wrexham,” and this year, celebrated its once.
Fear, 45, watched that documentary and as a longtime Ryan Reynolds fan, he dreamed of attending a game and meeting the star, BBC News reported. Little did he know, that would be made possible.
Fear had appendix cancer. Through the charity Bucket List Wishes, which works to grant wishes for people with terminal illnesses, he and and his family were gifted tickets to Wrexham’s penultimate league game against Boreham Wood.
He also got an added surprise. Reynolds sent him a video saying he’d look for him at the game. And when Fear attended the game on April 18, Reynolds made good on that promise.
“They always say you should never meet your idol and this guy is definitely an exception to that,” Fear told BBC 5 Live’s Sunday Breakfast radio show.
The day was meaningful for Reynolds, too, BBC News reported. “It was amazing to meet Jay. I wonder if I’d have the same unwavering joy if our roles were reversed,” the star said. “He is an exceptional person and his family is wonderful. I got a little choked up talking to him and feeling how much his kids and wife are going to miss him.”
Not only did Fear get to chat with Reynolds, he also received a signed glove Reynolds wore in the second “Deadpool” movie. And he watched Wrexham make history. Their win earned them a promotion into the English Football League for the first time in 15 years.
As an avid Reynolds fan, Fear told him he hoped to seen “Deadpool 3” when it came out. “He went, ‘Well, we’re filming in six weeks so why don’t we get you guys up to London. Yeah, let’s make that happen,'” Fear said.
Sadly, Fear lost his battle with cancer last week, BBC News reports. But the memory of fulfilling his final wish will live on with his family.
“People might think this whole thing was for me,” Fear said before he died. “Actually, this is for [my family] because they are the ones that are going to remember what happened for the rest of their lives. I just hope this is a core memory that they’ll never forget.”
Last week, Reynolds shared a photo taken when he met Fear and his family, writing: “This man lived.”
“So grateful to have spent time with Jay Fear. He didn’t have much of it left. The fact he shared that time so freely with others is something I’ll never take for granted and never forget.”