Five months ago, Hertha Berlin midfielder Anis Ben-Hatira met an eight-year-old fan named Jannik. The boy was in the hospital battling Leukemia, but the pair made each other a couple of promises, which Ben-Hatira shared with an Instagram photo.
Jannik is 8 years old and has cancer. We decided to fight against his illness together. In such moments I realize: a healthy person has 1000 desires. A sick person just one.
Cute guy: you promised me to recover and I promised to stay on your side while the chemotherapy. I will visit you regularly.
In less than 6 month we will stand in front of the fans in the Olympic stadium and celebrate your recovery!
The two new friends each remained committed to those promises. Jannik made progress with his recovery and Ben-Hatira kept visiting, even donning a Spider-Man mask on occasion to lift the youngster’s spirits.
On Saturday, Hertha Berlin faced Schalke and Ben-Hatira scored the first goal in what would be a 2–2 draw, as he made his first appearance after returning from injury. And he celebrated by putting on the Spider-Man mask, as per Jannik’s request.
After the match Ben-Hatira’s prediction from back in October came true when he and Jannik celebrated the boy’s recovery in front of the fans at the Olympic Stadium.
A day earlier Ben-Hatira shared another message on Instagram that, fair warning, will probably make you cry. He wrote:
a few month ago I introduced you to my friend Jannik. Jannik got hit by his fortune in a really bad way and he is fighting against cancer. Even thought he is a little man — he fights like Superman against his illness. Jannik puts bravery on another level and I am totally impressed by his will and strength. It was a very hard time and Jannik and his whole family suffered a lot. I tried my very best to be always on his side and luckily we can say now: there seems to be progress.
As a sign of my admiration I asked Jannik if he would do me a favor within the next weeks. I would love to enter the Olympic Stadium on his side! His braveness will be an example for all of us.
Jannik, you are my little superhero! I am blessed to be part of the moment when you enter the stage again!
And that’s how Anis Ben-Hatira became your new favorite footballer.