Luke Shaw pens heartfelt letter to Irish couple on birth of baby after tragic loss of young daughter
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has written a touching letter to an Irish family following the birth of their son just months after the tragic passing of their daughter.
Hardcore Manchester United fan Steve de Korte and his fiancee Sarah from Tipperary lost their beloved daughter Ava just six weeks after her birth last year.
The couple recently celebrated the birth of their son, Luke, and received a beautiful surprise today when a personal letter from Manchester United and England defender Shaw arrived.
The letter reads: "Dear Sarah and Steve. I just wanted to drop you a line to congratulate you both on the birth of Luke Robert.
"The last year or so has obviously been very difficult for you both after the sad passing of Ava. I have no doubt that you will ensure Ava's memory will live on and you will always remember the short time you spent together with your wonderful daughter.
"A big welcome to Luke, who I am sure has given you lots of strength and focus at this time. I am pleased to see that he is already wearing the colours of his favourite team."
Steve recalled the agony and heartache himself and Sarah went though last year as Ava fought bravely for six weeks after being born 17 weeks early.
At that time Steve's brother Will wrote to Manchester United to explain what the pair were going through. It was a simple, thoughtful gesture that would ultimately lead to a glimmer of light for Steve and Sarah.
"When our daughter was born, my brother sent a letter to the club. We are of Dutch descent and Louis van Gaal was still in charge," Steve tells Independent.ie.
"Will sent a letter explaining what happened. Ava was born 17 weeks early and to be honest nobody ever thought we would hear anything back.
"Then one day we got a letter from Louis van Gaal wishing us well. We were going through hell, living up in Dublin and in Holles Street every night, but it did help us through a bit.
"I am a diehard United fan so to receive a letter like that was very special."
Despite months of agony, Steve and Sarah were blessed with a son 11 weeks ago.
"I took it upon myself to send an email to the girl you sent us the letter from Louis van Gaal just to say there was a positive story after what we had gone through. Van Gaal was still there at the time and she said she would pass on the message to him.
"She mailed me only a couple of days ago. She was great and said she had spoken to Luke Shaw at training."
Coincidently, Steve and Sarah met Shaw back in 2014 at a match in old Trafford. The affable young defender made an impression on the couple back then when they talked and posed for a photograph.
But when Steve read his touching letter this morning, a whole new respect for the defender was born.
"When I read the letter this morning, you can tell it is heartfeld. It is not a generic email. There was nice words in it and it meant a lot, The fact that he acknowledged our little girl meant a lot. She might not be here but is still part of out lives."
It’s almost a year since Shaw suffered a horrendous double fracture of his right leg during Manchester United’s 2-1 Champions League group stage defeat to PSV Eindhoven last September. He is expected to make his comeback in tomorrow's friendly against Wigan.