Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Sports Connections Foundation were lucky enough to be able to grant two Sporting Wishes last week to two very deserving young ladies. SCF staff Junior McDougald, Jane Nicholls, Harriet Foulkes, Charity Champion Gareth Simpson and myself, went down to the Olympic Gym in Huntingdon to witness, and take part in, a personalised gym session hosted by one of the trainers, Adam.
Maisie is 6 years old and has been diagnosed with a rare disorder called Melas Syndrome which caused her to have stroke when she was only 5 years old. For several months she was very poorly but she is an incredibly brave young girl who has undergone intense physiotherapy as part of her treatment regime. She is now getting back into a school routine, a school Charity Champion Gareth know's very well! Maisie was accompanied by her mum and dad.
Sienna is also 6 years old and she has had recurring admissions to Addenbrookes Hospital, which is where we met Sienna on our Easter visit! She has been receiving treatments for Cystic Fibrosis and she loves sport. When she is poorly she sadly misses out on her activities which can be very difficult for her however she is about to embark on a new treatment regime which should reduce further hospital admissions leaving her and her family to look forward to a more normal routine. Sienna was joined by mum, dad and grandma for the day.
Here's a small selection of some action shots at the gym, as well as some exclusive goodie bags both girls received, courtesy of British Gymnastics!
Our gym session started with some stretches and some parachute games, these of course involved the parents! We then had an obstacle course presented to us which included a swing and tunnel to crawl through. Both Maisie and Sienna were superb and you could see the enjoyment on their faces throughout. The swing particularly got repeatedly used. We moved on to the trampolines next, where Sienna was more than happy to show us the routine she has been learning at her trampolining classes and was fantastic at it! Maisie also got involved before we watched our friend and former athlete Harry perform some incredible tricks and flips. We then had a break where numerous jumps in to the sponge pit occurred before some goes on the high bars and balancing beams, it was amazing watching Sienna and Maisie enjoy their time at the gym with smiling faces all round.
One last treat for the families before we departed was a demonstration from some of the countries brightest prospects, one of which is currently ranked 5th in the country at under 17 level!
I was very impressed with both Maisie and Sienna and their efforts during the sessions were reward enough. - Adam (Huntingdon Olympic Gym)
After our gym session both families and our SCF staff took a quick drive to The Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon for afternoon tea, as well as multiple games of Uno. Not only was it a privilege to watch both Maisie and Sienna go from strangers to new friends but to discover the families don't live too far away from each other and that they will be able to continue this friendship is a huge part of why we at SCF do what we do.
For families and children going through difficult times and circumstances, our Sporting Wishes can provide rest bite from gruelling treatments and hospital visits but also provide families with long lasting happy memories. For families to meet others that are also going through testing times can bring some extra support and to over hear Sienna and Maisie's families discussing meeting up to go to the beach is testament to this.
The families and SCF staff at the Old Bridge Hotel
The next day we received a lovely message from Sienna's dad Paul, he said "I just wanted to thank everyone for yesterday, Sienna has been non-stop talking about it and to see her just having a day where she can be a little girl and just have fun was amazing! We can't thank everyone enough, I can genuinely say it was the best day Sienna has ever had."
I would like to thank Adam and Rachel at Huntingdon Gym for all of their support in delivering a fantastic Sporting Wish. To not only have the entire gym to themselves but for both Sienna and Maisie to have taken part in a personalised gym session was great experience for both girls, their families and the SCF staff that were there to witness it. I'd also like to thank the staff at the Old Bridge Hotel for their hospitality and wonderful food and of course, to those of you who continually support our charity and enable us to grant Sporting Wishes to deserving children like Maisie and Sienna.
We are back at the David Lloyd gym in Cambridge on Sunday 11th August for our next Cycle, Dash & Smash event, it's back and bigger than ever with our goal of turning miles in to £'s that will enable us to deliver special days like this to more deserving children, you can find out more here