A foot-crazy grandfather with dementia is becoming an internet sensation thanks to a generous grandson

An 84-year-old grandfather with dementia went viral at TikTok after his grandson uploaded a clip about him at a football match. Barry Carr spent many years bonding with his grandson Charlie Gibson because of his love of the game, and now millions of viewers have been captivated by his enthusiasm.

Some of Charlie’s favorite childhood memories are of his grandfather taking him to Man City games – of which Barry is a lifelong supporter. On Sunday the team had a great match and his family was worried that the progression of his dementia would mean that he would not be able to get to the game in time at the Etihad stadium.

But when Grandpa and grandson parked at the stadium, it set Barry in his prime and sparked a moving story about the power of football and family, the Manchester Evening News reports. Barry grew up in Manchester and rejected attempts at Man United because of his loyalty to City, instead choosing to go into the family business.

From the age of six, Charlie was hooked and they went to games together regularly until his grandfather stopped in 2014 when his condition worsened. He was diagnosed with dementia the following year, and while he had the constant support of his wife Sherry at his side – soon to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary together – and the love of three children and seven grandchildren, the extra retirement caused by the a pandemic only made his illness worse; Alzheimer’s caught on to the point that when the club heard Barry’s story and ordered tickets for them to watch a game.

Charlie pushed forward, but even he had his doubts. When things got worse, they barely made it to the game – they survived.

“Because I had that relationship with him, I like to push forward and the whole point is that I want dementia to be a positive thing and we have those memories. It’s a stigma where because you have it, things are not possible. I’ll never get him out of his comfort zone, but I thought he would be fine.

“When we had breakfast and he was a little unresponsive, I realized that I never really had that with him. When we got to the car and he forgot my name, it really started me up. I cried. My eyes went out. He never said my name before.

“We were in Hale and I thought ‘should I turn the car back’, but I thought we should push forward because he had his medicine and he started coming. Even driving to the stadium, he still didn’t really know. but as soon as he got to the stadium, that was it.

“Obviously I reminded him of what had happened, but he was fixated on the game. Whatever happened, at least he had to do it and enjoy it. Then he saw his son, and he even saw him every week and said it. It was like he was 10 years younger. I was exhausted returning to him and he sang to Frank Sinatra and listened to 5 Live so it was like the old days! “

For Charlie – having moved back to Manchester to be closer to his grandfather – it was another memorable day at football with someone who meant so much to him. As well as running his own football agency, Charlie is also an experienced cameraman and was able to capture their roll from the day of the wobble to the amazing end.

The response to Charlie uploading the video to Tiktok was overwhelming. The three-minute clip was watched more than 10 million times in two days and fans of all teams privately messaged to show their appreciation; one Arsenal supporter whose dad has Alzheimer’s has even offered to pay for a season ticket next season for Barry, while the Football Association has also been in touch on the Community Shield.

Charlie when he was younger with his grandfather
Charlie when he was younger with his grandfather

“I came back here and he became my father figure. He got me into football, we always went to City games and then I came back to Manchester just to be with him and spend some time with him and I wanted to give him back. said Charlie.

“We’ve always had a really special relationship, so when I come back everyone would say he always has more energy with me. As life progresses and the business gets busier, I haven’t seen him as much as I’ve seen. Like in recent months .At Christmas he got much worse and became unresponsive and his Alzheimer’s disease started to kick in.

“They thought it would be too much for him because he was always asleep, and he had his wobbly moments. I never had that experience with him because he was always lucid. Then when it comes to City, I don’t have. I know what pumped through him but we pulled up in that car park and it was almost as if he was 10 years younger.

“Having him there really embraces our relationship with City. We had the [Sergio] Aguero a moment when he was at his best, but having that again and even just talking to him on Monday and he was saying of course he remembers and almost recovered.

“That’s the beauty of social media. You can put it on there and it’s there for the rest of our lives. Resonating with so many people and getting the messages I’ve received is just amazing.

“I was so glad it was there with a memory and then I didn’t expect that answer at all! My grandparents just told me I wasn’t 100 percent sure what was going on, but on the condition that I make you proud. He became such a sweet old man .

“He’s always been pretty tough and stern but now he’s a soft old man so he’s amazing. As long as it raises awareness and people can enjoy it, that’s all that matters.”

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