Cape Town - “Thank you, Daily Voice. It was the best birthday ever,” said a 16-year-old Saldanha Bay girl after Springbok legend Victor Matfield made her wish come true.
Farren Jacobs suffers from Asperger Syndrome, which is a form of autism.
People with the disorder experience difficulty with social relationships and communicating. However, the teen lights up to only one name - Victor Matfield.
Her mother, Melanie Jacobs, 39, says her daughter saw the retired lock while watching rugby on TV with her father and was obsessed with Big Vic ever since.
“Her liking for Victor started in 2014. Farren and her father would watch rugby and when she saw him, she just went crazy. I don’t know what it was about him."
“Farren isolates herself and doesn’t communicate with us. We cannot converse unless it’s about Victor Matfield and I now use Victor as a tool to get through to her."
“We always ask how he would react, then she reacts. Victor is the only way she lowers her defences.”
Farren was so taken by Matfield that her cousin, Kaylin Rispel, started a campaign on social media to try and get the former Bok captain to just wish her a happy birthday.
“I was really thinking about how I could make her wish come true as I would want someone to do the same for me. I see her eyes light up when she speaks about him,” says Kaylin.
“It’s a local celebrity and for one person to have such an impact on someone is incredible. I couldn’t think of anything better. Last year for Christmas she received Victor’s book and a simple poster of him and she lit up. He is her motivation and that stole my heart.”
The Daily Voice contacted Matfield, who was only too happy to assist.
On Saturday, Farren held her Green and Gold-themed party at the Academy Sports Centre in Saldanha.
The guests - about 30 family and friends - could not enter without a Springbok jersey and pictures of Matfield were plastered all over.
When Farren’s birthday video message was screened at the party, the teen was overcome with tears of joy.
In the video, Matfield, 40, says: “Baie geluk met jou 16de verjaarsdag. Sweet 16 and never been kissed before, ek hoop. Ek hoop jy het ’* fantastiese daggie."
“Ek hoor jy het ’* groot Springbok partytjie vandag, ek hoop almal daag op met hulle Springbok truie. Dankie dat jy die Springbokke so mooi onderstuen. Ek hoop dis ’* wonderlike dag vir jou en dat jy ’* wonderlike jaar gaan * ê.
“Wens ek kon saam met jou koek * ê, ek’s nogal lus vir koek vandag maar ek hoop jy’t ’* baie lekker dag.”
Kaylin explains: “Farren was so overwhelmed she couldn’t cope with the fact that he was on the screen talking to her. It was her best birthday ever. Our family is thankful to the Daily Voice for making her birthday so special.”