Gareth, Pete, and Brett – Golfing for the Grand Appeal &
Some of our friends and family will know that Gareth (and
his wife Claire), were caught majorly off-guard recently when their 8 year old daughter Saffron was referred to hospital after she had woken up with a sudden loss of movement and feeling from the chest down. Although they initially attended the local hospital in Taunton, after the results came back from the MRI scan taken that day, they were referred to a specialist paediatric Neuroscience unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital. This was the start of a very confusing few weeks, whilst the doctors carried out numerous tests to try and understand as much as they could about what was ailing Saffie, and like so many parents in
these situations, Gareth and Claire were wholly unprepared.
Step in the fantastic people of the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal!
Whilst they spent as much time as they could at Saffron’s bedside, the people of the Grand Appeal basically made it possible for them to stay within touching distance if they couldn’t actually be on the ward for the 7 weeks Saffie was in hospital. As well as donating fold down beds to the hospital previously, the grand appeal provided Gareth and Claire with an apartment in Bristol (with cooking and laundry facilities) so they didn’t have to make the c120 mile round trip to home every day (850 miles worth of fuel saved every week!), nor decide who was going to have to do so (how do you choose who stays and who goes home!?) – FOR FREE! As the investigations into Saffie’s situation progressed, Gareth and Claire were always able to stay nearby and support her – thanks in great part to the assistance of the Grand Appeal. Additional mention to the support they provide to so many other families – we were lucky that Saffie was only in hospital for 7 weeks, some families are there for months and even years, and the Grand appeal supports them all.
Of course we don’t want to detract from the fantastic work of the doctors, surgeons, nurses, and physios of the NHS, who worked tirelessly to get Saffie back on her feet, and to understand what had affected her. Our continuing heartfelt thanks to the great institution that is the NHS.
After Saffie having to undergo surgery, lumber puncture, and give blood too many tear filled times to count, they have been able to identify a rare condition known as Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMO). There are currently only 700 cases of this in the UK, and it is only through modern diagnostic processes they have been able to both identify and classify Saffie’s condition. NMO is an auto-immune condition which can affect the spinal column and optic nerves. As yet they have not identified what can lead to NMO being contracted, and we are only able to manage her condition in the short term, with the threat of a relapse at any time being very real.
The charity NMO UK, have referred us to a specialist centre in Oxford who are going to do all they can to help us tackle Saffie’s condition, but the truth is that they also need as much support as we can muster.
Hence, Gareth, Brett, and Pete are looking to raise as much money as possible to both give something back to the Grand Appeal, and also to
provide much needed funding to the research of NMO UK.
There are two seperate fundraising pages, one for each charity, and we'd like to raise as much money for each charity as possible. Please visit www.justgiving.com/Gareth-Brett-Pete to donate to the Grand Appeal.
On June 20th the boys are intending to play 72 holes of golf at Hassocks Golf Club (who have most generously provided the use of the course for next to nothing!), starting at the crack of dawn, and hopefully getting all 4 rounds in before it gets too dark to continue. Please sponsor the boys however much you can afford (and feel free to come find us on the course on June 20th for some vocal support – food welcome!!), to help us raise as much as possible for these two incredible causes.
Gareth, Brett and Pete