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Making preparations for our ball

Happy Friday!

We hope you enjoyed reading about our family’s event last week, it was amazing to be able to see some of our families again including new and familiar faces! Meeting the children, we support gives our team so much motivation as we can see first-hand how the equipment, we fund can change their lives. It also enables us to have conversations with parents and carers to find out how we can adapt and develop our services to meet the needs of their family and most importantly their children. Our families really do mean the world to us so we hope we have many more occasions in the near future to see them.

I’ve got to admit, I was maybe the luckiest team member this week as I was out of the office meeting one very special family who will feature in our annual ball video.

Some of you may remember Oli from back in March when we talked about funding his specialist wheelchair and the incredible independence it’s given him in the last year. Oli has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition affecting the central nervous system and muscles. Oli and his Mum Nicola, Dad Rob and Sister, Evie, welcomed me into their home this week, along with our extended team and good friends Ange and Jason from The Bigger Picture to capture just a snapshot of how their everyday lives have changed since Oli received his wheelchair.

Oli and his Mum Nicola sent us some update pictures and video earlier this year to tell us about Oli’s wheelchair but it isn’t until you see it in action that you can fully appreciate how life-changing one piece of equipment can be. Oli’s old NHS wheelchair was no longer fit for purpose and so the family applied to us for his new wheelchair costing almost £16,000. Oli now travels to and from school with friends, sticking to the speed limited (or so I’m told by Oli) and Mum and Dad are safe in the knowledge he can simply turn on his lights as the dark nights approach. Oli also has found new opportunities in school, particularly in Design Technology where he can access the benches to participate in lessons, something he was unable to do previously. Oli, a keen gamer and wheelchair football player, is now able to move freely around his home, reaching into cupboards for a glass or snack, and most importantly can comfortably play Fortnite as his desk in his room, stretching his legs whenever he needs to (The favourite pastime of 12-year-olds nowadays!).

The cherry on the cake was also getting to meet the family’s new puppy Aura, (Aura Marshmallow her full title), who has already settled into her new home. Oli and Aura have already been enjoying walks together as her lead can be clipped onto his chair, giving Oli additional freedom and independence. There is one job however that Oli still isn’t keen on when taking Aura for a walk….

The biggest thing that struck me when meeting Oli was his confidence and we can only hope that funding his wheelchair will enable him to grow even more into the funny, independent and kind young man he’s turning in to.

Oli’s video will be premiered at our annual ball on Friday 5th November but we’ll be sure to share it with our supporters too. We have our final few tables remaining at our Noche del Sol ball together with partners St James’ Square Law Firm so please do get in touch with if you would like to attend.

Have a lovely weekend,

Lauren x