It’s a laborious task to compile an end of year review, as we did last year on Devizine, which I’m currently undertaking. It involves picking through the archives to reminiscence, as there’s so many wonderful things we’ve done I tend to forget some! Others, though, will remain with me forever. If I had to pick just one, well, that’s easy. My son’s friend said to him at school, “your Dad is famous for dressing up as Spiderman to deliver milk!”
Typical, after years of comics, novels, designing posters and endless other stuff, and that’s how I’ll be remembered; the milkman in his Spiderman onesie! But you know what? When I think of the wheelchair Carmela’s parents managed to buy with all the wonderful donations you guys gave, I’m fine with that! More than fine, my heart melts to think of it; thank you to everyone who supported it and gave so generously. Update: I didn’t realise, but our efforts also part funded a new petra race runner too, so I’m adding a second photo. Carmela’s mum, Lucy explained “It is so Carmela can be supported when running or walking to help her heart and lung therapy and bone strength as she can’t normally run or walk far.”
There was a wonderful moment in Bottlesford, towards the end of the milk round when Carmela and her parents, Lucy and Darren joined me. Carmela, dressed as Wonder Woman helped me deliver a few bottles. The job is a lonely one at the best of times, but after they left and I had a few more deliveries to do I realised, I’d never make a journalist. The job involves you working a story, meeting the people involved and after it’s published, it’s goodbye. I’d never felt lonelier on my milk run than at that point. Decided then, I can’t let this happen. Carmela is instantly lovable, but every person I interview, every band I review, I come away making a new friend; that’s how I see it, they’re not subjects, they’re friends. That’s the difference between Devizine and a newspaper, it’s personal.
Although I know it’s been and done, and to do it again wouldn’t have the same impact, Carmela’s muscular dystrophy and its campaign continues, for Carmela and her parents it’s an everyday struggle. So, here’s an update to explain there’s many other options and events forthcoming to support both Carmela and muscular dystrophy as a whole.
Firstly, a huge thanks go to Dean Czerwionka and all at the Cavalier Community Hall, who’s organised some fundraising events, starting Friday 20th December with a Children’s Christmas Disco. From 7:30pm, the disco is free, and it’s just £3 to visit Santa in his grotto; all proceeds will go to Carmela’s Fight to Stay Mobile.
And February is jammed with events, as 7th February is the “Go Orange for a Day” national campaign raising awareness and funds for muscular dystrophy. Simple premise, wear something orange on that day, and get everyone in your office, school or community group to pay a small donation to Go Orange for a Day. Details on how to sign up here.
Locally, on Saturday 22nd February, the Cavalier community hall will be transformed into the magical world of Disney’s Frozen, for a Children’s Frozen theme Ball. With a special guest appearance from Alsa and Anna and also, Pippa Langhorne, who sang with her dog on Britain’s Got Talent. There promises to be songs, stories, photos and disco. A prize for the best dress girl and boy. Money raised will go to Carmela’s Therapy Fund, to help with ongoing specialised equipment, physiotherapy and adaptions as she grows. Tickets limited so book online. Photos must also be paid in advance on the ticket line. Tickets are £5 per child, adults free and photos cost just £3.50.
Adults will have to wait until the following weekend, when Devizes Town Hall plays host to a Casino Royale evening. Just4Children ‘Carmela’s Fight to Stay Mobile’ would love you to join them at their Black-Tie Charity Casino Event. There’s a posh finger buffet and casino entertainment, with a cash bar. I’m delighted to have suggested the bands for this brilliant night, so you can guarantee some great music. Firstly, our newcomer of the year by a country mile, Daydream Runaways, and Devizes favourite It’s Complicated. Tickets are available now for £25, online here.
Rescheduled until October, The Barge at Honey-Street will be hosting a fire walk, in aid of Carmela. There’s a minimum £200 registration sponsorship, or simply pop down and watch; I’ll try and let you know when exactly this is happening. Yet you don’t need attend an event to help, you could donate £5 this Christmas to 70085, Texting CARMELA 5.
Or you could start your own fundraiser; like Danielle Tudor who ran the Bristol Half Marathon last year, Neil Foord on the Chichester Half Marathon, and Dotte & Elaine’s Santa Run. This year Holly Miller runs a Jurassic Trail half marathon in April, and Justin Olejnik takes on an Olympic Distance Triathlon in May. Good luck to all of them, rather them than me! And if running seems to be the trend, lest we forget brave Carmela’s Dad, Darren, and family friends Charlie Beardmore and Scott Willis, and Hannah Ashford, who all take on the London Marathon this coming year. Another massive thanks must go to Devizes Fire Station and staff, for their continued support and fundraising events.
Between horse-riding, wheelchair football and music lessons with CJ Music School, Carmela herself takes on her Yearly Triathlon Challenge. She’s already raised around £1000 for MDUK taking part the past 2 years. With a need to cram as much life experience as possible into her short life, she’s certainly been non-stop, meeting celebrities such as Prince Harry, Sarah Duchess of York, Frank Bruno, Beverley Knight and yes, Jimmy Carr too! I wonder if she remembers me after rubbing shoulders with all these stars? But I think if you asked her, her favourite would be her new puppy, Tinker!
Please show some support for any one of these worthy ventures and help Carmela, if you’ve had the opportunity to meet this wonderful girl, and seen her smile, you’d know why. Fuller details can be found here.
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