Charity’s ‘Life Changing Christmas’ Campaign
This Christmas Caudwell Children is calling on the general public to dig deep and give a child their best present yet!
Our ‘Life Changing Christmas’ campaign is looking at the stories of three very brave and strong children who have overcome the odds this year with the help and support of the charity.
We’re asking people to make children’s wishes come true this Christmas, children like Isabel, Alex and Finlay.
Laura Pickett, from Caudwell Children, is calling on the public to donate generously and help the charity give disabled children a bright Christmas. As she explained: “We’re highlighting the stories of a number of children who, with the help and support of the charity, have overcome the odds this year to flourish in their day-to-day lives.
“They’ve had to overcome a number of challenging medical issues but now, thanks to our support, their lives have been turned around.”
The children that are leading the campaign are three-year-old Isabel, who has spinal muscular atrophy, eight-year-old Alex, who has a rare congenital heart defect, and nine-year-old Finlay, who has cerebral palsy.
Isabel, from Midsomer Norton, in East Somerset, will receive a state-of-the-art powered wheelchair from the charity on her 4th birthday on the 18th December.
“Isabel’s wheelchair will make a massive difference,” said mum, Karen. “At the moment she needs someone to be with her at all times and needs help to move anywhere.
“This chair will give her the independence that every child should have. She’ll be able to go to mainstream school, which is amazing. She’ll also be able to move around on her own, play and keep up with friends and sit at the table. It will be life changing.”
Alex, from Aberdeen, has been selected for a place on Destination Dreams, our annual holiday to Disney World, in Florida. The holiday was created in 2007 to give children with limiting conditions a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
During an operation to replace a heart valve, when he was 17 months old, Alex suffered a number of strokes. Although he pulled through it was obvious that there were huge issues. “Alex had lost everything!” explained mum, Laura. “Speech, mobility, the ability to eat and drink. But astonishingly he responded when I talked to him, that’s when I knew Alex was going to be OK.”
When her son woke up he was like a new born baby and had to relearn everything. Despite the challenges of his condition, Alex is now doing well in mainstream school.
However he still has memory loss, fatigue and emotional stress and doesn’t have the full use of his left arm. He also has difficulty walking due to his right leg being shorter than his left.
“Destination Dreams is going to be the trip of a lifetime for Alex, his sister Natalie, and me,” said Laura. “It’s going to be amazing having a week of fun where Alex can take a break from hospital appointments and experience being a little boy, doing normal fun things.”
Finlay, from Gloucester, has received fundraising support from the charity to have an operation called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). The surgery has the potential to allow Finlay to walk independently for the first time in his life.
Teresa, his mum, says that Finlay is a very happy and determined little boy who, in spite of the restrictions of his disability, tries to join in games like football with his brother.
Whenever Danny plays Finlay will ask to be the goalkeeper and he kneels in the middle of the goal. His dream is to be a ‘standing up boy’ like his brother.
“We have always tried to treat the boys the same and allow Finlay to take part in activities, but it can be difficult at times,” said Teresa. “For example, Danny can run around the playpark and make new friends, whereas Finlay needs support to climb up the slide.
“It’s at times like this, when Finlay is sitting by us whilst Danny is running around with his friends, that we really feel the difference and feel upset for Finlay as he can’t join in.”
The SDR surgery, which will hopefully take place in the New Year, will help Finlay to sit, stand, build up the strength in his legs and, potentially, take his first independent steps.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Finlay,” said Teresa. “It will make the world of difference to him. We can’t thank Caudwell Children enough for their support.
“The SDR operation will cost up to £40,000 so without the charity Finlay, simply, wouldn’t ever have the chance of walking!”
Laura concluded: “I would urge people to support our ‘Life Changing Christmas campaign. With your help we will be able to make even more dreams come true for disabled children this Christmas.”
You can support the appeal through each child’s Just Giving Page:
You can also make a text donation by texting
Finlay: FING64 £5 to 70070
Alex: ALRI99 £5 to 70070
Isabel: ISFR47 £5 to 70070