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withinReach Our nationwide support network Inspiring the next generation Achieving the dream

The Official Magazine of the Association for Children with Upper Limb Deficiency

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The 2017 Family Weekend

Winter 2017

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Issue 136

Helping children with upper limb differences live life without limits


withinReach Please send photographs and stories for withinReach to Jane Garrett, addressed to: The Editor, withinReach, 2 Farmside Cottages, Hound House Road, Shere, Guildford, Surrey GU5 9JG or via email to: janeg@reach.org.uk Tel: 01483 203237 Mobile: 07884 268594

Inside Issue 136 p4 & 5

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p6

Global Make Some Noise Robot Wars

Comments, articles, requests, ideas: We welcome comments, articles, requests or suggestions for future editions of Within Reach.

Letters:

Any letters for publication should include the name and address of the sender, but these can be withheld from publication if requested.

Advertising:

Within Reach has a print run of 1,600 and is distributed to members, subscribers, health services and specialists. If you need to reach this key audience, we would be delighted to consider including your advertisement. Contact Jane Garrett on 01483 203237 The views expressed in this journal are not necessarily those of Reach and are not intended to reflect or constitute Reach policy, or in any way portray an official view.

Reach membership

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p7

Reach Bursaries

p8-15

Family Weekend Report

p17

One-handed hairdo

p18-19

Fundraising

p21-23

Branch News

Membership of Reach is open to parents of children with upper limb deficiency and other individuals of 18 years and over who are interested in furthering the work of the association. Junior membership is given to children who have an upper limb deficiency. The UK subscription is from ÂŁ36. (ÂŁ35 if paid by direct debit) You will receive three issues of the magazine a year by post or email if you live overseas.

Reach Insurance

This covers any member aged between 2 and 85 years of age resident in the UK with a congenital deficiency of one upper or lower limb or both upper limbs or who have had one upper or lower limb or both upper limbs or one hand amputated. There is a slight difference in cover for under 16s and those not in paid employment at the time of their accident. Please call Head Office for more details about the schedule of insurance.

SHARED EXPERIENCES National Co-ordinators: Jo Dixon and Jenny Coleman Reach, Pearl Assurance House, Brook Street, Tavistock, PL19 0BN Tel: 0845 130 6225 From a Mobile: 020 3478 0100 Email: reach@reach.org.uk Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm website: www.reach.org.uk

Follow us on twitter: @reachcharity Facebook: www.facebook.com/reachcharity Registered charity no. 1134544 withinReach magazine is printed and distributed by NRG Marketing, 209 Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis PO21 3QG

This book, published by Reach, is extremely useful for families who have discovered they have, or are about to have, a Reach baby. Shared Experiences is a collection of accounts by Reach families of their own real life experiences of having a child with an upper limb deficiency. Their stories are shocking, saddening, funny, inspiring and captivating. All in all, a brilliant realisation of life with an upper limb deficiency. Contact HO to order your copy.

SPRING COPY DEADLINE MARCH 15 2018


BRANCH CO-ORDINATORS

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BRANCH CO-ORDINATORS - THE LINK TO YOUR LOCAL REACH COMMUNITY This is such an important role, bringing families together for support and shared fun and we have vacancies in ESSEX/HERTS AND NORTH LONDON. Please give it a go. You don’t need to do it alone! Volunteer with a friend. You will receive lots of support from HO. Call us on 0845 130 6225, or from a mobile: 020 3478 0100


WELCOME TO OUR WINTER ISSUE NATIONAL COORDINATORS As autumn turns to winter the team at Reach HO takes time to celebrate and recover from another frantic but brilliant Family Weekend, and start planning new events for 2018. The Family Weekend speakers and exhibitors were superb and I think really inspired both parents and children - my thanks go to all our volunteers and supporters who made it such a great weekend. Our volunteer team is brilliant and we rely on you all so much - if you would like to help us in future please give us as call in the office and we can let you know what needs doing! We will be returning to Bristol in 2018 - a break with the tradition of travelling around the country. This is because the logistics and space at the Marriott in Bristol are an almost perfect fit for the way the weekend runs, with ample space for the childcare team to offer exciting and safe options alongside the conference and workshops/exhibition in the afternoon. Bristol is also geographically accessible to a large proportion of our members.

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We realise that it is not the perfect location for all, and understand that the cost is prohibitively expensive for some of our families, which is why we are working on a series of more local, less costly weekends for families to join up, make friends and have an equally fantastic time. We have Scotland and Patterdale planned for next summer and a venue in Kent earmarked for a new weekend later in 2018 details of how to book will be released in the new year. This is the first edition since Jenny Coleman joined the team as my job share partner, and we are getting to grips with the roles and working on new projects. I am really enjoying being a student once again - some things have not changed, but the world of academia has A LOT since I completed my first degree so it’s a steep learning curve! Jo Dixon Well the first six weeks here have literally flown by! Still getting to grips with the IT etc, but I am enjoying things! The Family Weekend was a revelation and I am already looking forward to next year’s, knowing that I will know a little more about what’s going on by then! Hopefully, I was very swan-like and my frantic paddling was not too noticeable! I look forward to lots of other lovely events in 2018! Jenny Coleman

WELL, REACH CERTAINLY MADE SOME NOISE! Eva Meneghetti and Anna Welch were there! “On October 7th ! went up on the train to London with my mum to Global Studios in Leicester Square. We were met by some people in very whacky outfits as they all had to dress as loudly as possible!” said Eva. “Immediately as we got to the top of the stairs we were met by people playing amazing classical music for the live busking marathon and I started celebrity-spotting with Myleene Klass. “Some of the things that went on that I was lucky to see and be a part of, included Kate Garraway who drank a range of disgusting smoothies. We went into the studio with Tony Gibbon who was so nice to us and he was so tired as he was doing a 36 hour marathon broadcast...he had to eat a lot of chocolate and drink a lot of coffee to keep awake, he was brilliant. “We were due to go live on air to talk about Reach at 11:30 with James O’Brien who made us feel relaxed and was really nice to talk to. Before we met him, we had a tour of all of the studios (more celeb-spotting!) and Anna Welch and I had to judge (and eat lots of cake) for the bake off...we tried all of the yummy cakes on their appearance and their taste and the one that won was covered in chocolate sweets!! “We got to see where all the phone calls were taking place with people calling in to pledge money and we also got to see the fancy dress competition - there were some really crazy outfits! We got to dress up in crazy outfits ourselves and then visited some of the studios whilst they were performing live on air. One of the people we also got to see and have our photo taken with was James Arthur which was really cool! “It was a fun and long day and it was all in aid of helping the radio stations raise money for Reach, I don’t know how much they will donate to Reach as they were raising for a few charities but the total raised on the day through all the stations was £3,534,628! It’s a day I am so happy I could be a part of and one I’ll never forget.”


CHAIRMAN’S REPORT One of the key dates in the Reach calander is the family weekend and AGM. I personally love attending as it encapsulates so many positive points about our Charity. The speakers regularly provide inspiring and thought provoking content, there are opportunities to learn about the services and support that both Reach and our partners offer and of course it is a great chance to catch up with old and new friends alike. This years event I felt was a really positive one. The speakers were all fantastic with a theme of positivity and working hard to overcome challenges and achieve success, mixed with informative discussion about traditional and emerging technology to inform and update. The afternoon provided the opportunity to attend a range of exhibits and workshops depending on what was of interest and relevant to you, but also a relaxed envirnoment to network and share experiences. Finally, the evening gala dinner was a chance to let our hair down and have some fun, if you can call being made to dress as a giant dragon fun (thanks Sian!). This event does not happen without a lot of hard work in the background. I would like to send a big thank you to Jo, Jenny and Abby for working tirelessly to make the weekend a success. Thank you to our speakers for taking the time to put together such interesting and inspiring presentations, to the childcare team, football coaches and volunteers, without whom the event simply cannot happen and to our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting us. Finally thank you to those who attended the weekend, this year was our best supported yet, and with over 200 attendees, it really did feel like we had taken over the hotel. The weekend was also a great opportunity for the trustees to provide an update on what we have been working on and deliver really positive news about our current financial position. This will allow us to continue to develop our regional family weekends throughout the UK and invest into future exciting projects for our members. The Trustee strategy weekend is being held in the coming weeks where we will decide on our investment plans for the coming year. It is an exciting time to be part of Reach and I look forward to sharing with you more details in the coming months. Lee Gwilliam

Reach Board Lee Gwilliam Chairman 9 Ashengate Way Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3EX Tel : 07971 170922 email: leeg@reach.org.uk Kevin Moyes Vice Chairman 12 Lady Housty Newton Swansea, SA3 4TS Tel: 07834353877 email: kevinm@reach.org.uk Phil Robertson Treasurer 126 Ash Lodge Drive Ash, Hampshire GU12 6NR Tel: 07973 363014 email: philr@reach.org.uk Gary Phillips 2 Walden Cottages, Westwood Lane, Normandy, Guildford, GU3 2JB Tel: 07044 080140 email: garyp@reach.org.uk Siân Brooks 15 Paullet, Sampford Peverell, Nr Tiverton, Devon Tel: 01884 820223 email: sianb@reach.org.uk

Julie Detheridge 20 Brunswick Road Earlsdon, Coventry, CVI1 3EX Tel: 02476 251185 email: julied@reach.org.uk Chris Fuoco 20 Cornlands Sampford Peverell Tiverton Devon EX16 7UA Tel: 07771612414 email: chrisf@reach.org.uk Ruth Lester 18 Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TA Tel: 07747 867460 email: ruthl@reach.org.uk Ed Pearce 9 Fraser Close, Laindon Basildon, Essex SS15 6SU Tel: 07772 543949 email: edp@reach.org.uk Elizabeth Wilmshurst 94 Victoria Mount, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4PZ Tel: 07852 371075. email: elizabethw@reach.org.uk

THE GLOBAL MAKE SOME NOISE CAMPAIGN RAISED THE REACH PROFILE “We were members of Reach many years ago,” wrote Lynn Haworth, “I was so grateful for the support of the group and knowledge that we were not alone. It was pre internet days and with everything else going on we found it hard to continue driving to meetings which were not local to us, so lost touch. “I heard about Reach again on Classic FM as one of the charities they are supporting and was pleased you are still going. “My daughter Rachael was born 30 years ago with bilateral upper limb problems. She had no thumbs, a couple of fused fingers, shortened arms and limited wrist movement. I was so distraught and could only think how limited her life might be. How wrong I was! She is an amazing young lady. Completed Duke of Edinburgh awards, still an outdoor person and just done the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. Travelled all over the world with her husband including some very remote places! Completed swimmimg lessons to gold level. Completed a degree and has a good job. Sorry, you can see how proud I am of her and often think back to the day she was born and I was full of worry! I wish you and all your families the very best. And thank you for being there when we needed you.”

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AIN’T NOTHING WE CAN’T DO FROM ROBOT WARS “We applied to get on Robot Wars back in late march 2017, just before the Easter holidays,” writes Anna Welch. “We came back and anxiously awaited Wednesday (the day of our club meetings) when we found out….WE HAD GOT IN! “We had roughly two to three weeks to basically build the robot from scratch except the chassis. We spent all our lunchtimes building the robot and an hour and a half each day after school as well! Even so, we were still modifying the robot as we packed it into the crate! “We flew up to Glasgow on Wednesday 10th May 2017 and took a taxi straight to the warehouse where filming takes place. We met our teacher Will Thomas from team Shock (Aftershock) and registered at the desk. The first day we just did minor adjustments to the robot, and technical checks and went behind the scenes and met the other roboteers, like the Eruption team, Thor and Gabriel 2. Then we went and checked into the hotel, had dinner and slept. “Day 2: We spent the first few hours just watching other fights on the screen before doing an interview about the team and our robot in general prior to our group fight. We did the walk of light and went to the side of the arena. We did our fight and came out for Dan to be interviewed about the fight. We had sustained minimal damage, with only a small amount of jiggling that had happened to the electronics. We left early, had food and slept.

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“Day 3: We came in to find Will Thomas, Adrien Oates and a few other roboteers from various teams working on our robot! We were confused until it was explained that for our fight that day another team, Vulture, had leant us their 10mm hardox wedge! It was really busy until our fight, especially as we were not allowed to do much, as a lot of it was welding, so we were doing as much as we could until we were called to the arena. “We were fighting the biggest bar spinner in the history of robot wars and we were the youngest team in the competition. The crowd were 3…2…1…Activate and we moved forward to prove we could move. Then the other robot came for us and hit the wedge. It flew like a helicopter for a second then the bar flew in our general direction, the robot flew the other and the chain broke off! We cheered and as Angela came in Marcus said “If that bar had come our way I would’ve needed a new pair of trousers!” “Angela asked him to repeat so we all started laughing, so she asked me to and I did….between laughing! We celebrated such an awesome victory and fixed the robot up (from the little damage we had!) and went out for dinner and slept—it was an exhausting day! “Days 4-6: The rest of the time is pretty blurry to me, honestly, it went so fast after that (or should I say very Rapid?)! and all I can really remember is Vulture pulling out due to an electronic malfunction of their robot and going into the 10-robot-rumble then travelling home a few days later. “It was great fun and I hope I can do it again for sure! It was probably the best (but most exhausting) week of my life and I think we, as a team, will be back soon (even if it isn’t next series).” Anna Welch is a student at Collingwood School, Camberley. Her team Track-Tion is mentored by her teacher, Will Thomas of Team Shock.

AND WATER POLO Jess Grace has recently been selected to play for Iceni Ladies Water Polo Club at the ASA National Age Groups in Manchester. “We came sixth overall in the country in our age group,” said Jess. “Water Polo is a great sport for anyone who likes to swim and wants to do something a bit different from standard lane swimming and racing. “I started swimming lessons at our local pool in Ipswich when I was a baby and loved it from the beginning but after working my way up through the various levels I decided that racing wasn’t for me, as I found I was slightly slower than two-armed swimmers. “My friend encouraged me to go along to her Water Polo club, Suffolk Torpedoes, and I discovered both the excitement of water polo and that players are only allowed to use one hand on the ball – clearly the right sport for me! I would recommend water polo to any Reach member who enjoys swimming – you can find your local water polo club at swimming.org/waterpolo/.”


Elmarie O’Brien

Reach bursaries are available to help support a Reach child to fulfil their potential in any way, through sport, music, mobility or adventure. Typically they are awarded to members to help pay for expensive items like car adaptations, to enable them to learn to drive. Bursaries have also been given to help pay for sports training including paraclimbing and snow-boarding, musical instruments and more.

TO DRIVING A CAR

Elmarie O’Brien received her bursary for a car adaptation.

AND SWIMMING

Luke Batty has been named England Talent Athlete of the Year in the Swim England National Awards. Luke was presented with the award at the Great Hall at Birmingham University in November . He is having a busy winter. The week after, he was swimming at Olympic Park representing the North West in the English Schools Relay Finals (Under 18).

Then he goes to the Nationals in December. So he has lots of competitions ahead but all made much easier thanks to the Bursary from Reach. Becky Batty

AND PARACLIMBING Reach had no less than four members on the podium after the latest round of the National BMC ParaClimbing Series Round 2 competition at the Castle Climbing Centre in London in October. Isabella Walsh and Matthew Phillips both took 1st place in their sections and Lily Brown got a 2nd while Anoushé Hussain came 3rd.

REACH BURSARIES

“During September 2016 I drove a car for the first time,” she said. “We arrived at Southern Mobility Solutions in Cork and after a quick chat with Tomás he put me in the driving seat and I drove his car around the industrial estate first and within what seemed like minutes I was out in the city. Nothing could take the big grin off my face, I was beaming from ear to ear stepping out of the car after my first drive. “ My mom was pretty happy too, but I would say that’s just because she was relieved that the heart palpitations she endured in the back seat had come to a stop! This was my initial driving assessment and we were advised on the type of car to buy and the adaption I would need on the steering wheel to drive it. “The car needed to be fully automatic with a steering ball fitted to the steering wheel and I also opted for the Lodgesons wireless keypad control. For those that don’t know me I am a left upper arm amputee, and also had my small right finger amputated. Dad got busy searching for a suitable second hand car and eventually bought a fully automatic 2007 Ford C Max . “The next step was to have my car fitted with the adaptations. These were all done in Cork at Southern Mobility Solutions. Finally I was ready to roll in my automatic car with a steering control equipped with secondary controls such as indicators, windscreen wipers, headlights, a horn and wind screen wash. Thanks to the Reach Bursary we were able to afford this fancy bit of kit on the steering wheel. “Unfortunately it was not smooth sailing from there. After struggling for a month or so trying to drive with the steering control I reached a point where I felt I couldn’t drive the car safely. This was a terrible low for me as I loved driving so much. Luckily I have a Superdad who came to the rescue. He was able to tailor the steering control to my needs . “Then after a few months the car developed problems too, and Superdad had to go shopping again. We were lucky that all the controls could be transferred to the next car and I now have a Seat Ibiza which I love. Not only do I have a Superdad I am also lucky enough to have a super Godfather as well as Pat spent the last twelve months teaching me to drive correctly and safely. “I passed my driving test on 6th of October with a clean sheet and now I am happier than ever driving around with my full licence. Much love and appreciation for all the support from the Reach team. We are truly grateful for your help. All I have left to say is… Did I ace my test ? oh yeah I did, and did I pass it first time unlike both my brothers? Oh you better believe it!”

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REACH FAMILY WEEKEND It was our first year attending the Family Weekend and it was a privilege to be a part of it! This morning it was crazy seeing so many people with the same arm difference as me. I thought this is great – my own little world!

FOR BRISTOL READ

WALES!

There were daffodils, the Newport Male Voice Choir, red dragon costumes, the red dragon flag - Wales had simply moved to Bristol for the weekend.

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The hotel had oodles of space for all the important aspects of a Reach Family Weekend - making and renewing friendships, meeting new families, exchanging experiences, gathering information and gaining reassurance. Once again there was a powerful line-up of speakers for the morning conference session. It is noticeable how talented people with a limb difference are now becoming much more visible in the public arena, and Reach is incredibly lucky to have so many of these very high profile ambassadors for difference giving their time to come and inspire our younger Reach members. Fancy having not one but TWO paralympian medallists on the platform, along with a television actor to compere the evening! And their inspirational stories were balanced by thoughtful speeches from top professionals from the medical world and the enthusiasm of the new generation of inventors determined to make effective prosthetics available to everyone who needs them. In response to feedback, much more time was allowed for families to investigate the different stands in the exhibition. We had representatives from Ottobock, Meningitis Now, RSL Steeper, Opcare, Clos-o-mat, South of England Driving Mobility Centre, Peter Worrell Instruments, the OHMI Trust, Team Unlimbited and Plasticity Lab. Sian Brooks was the mastermind behind the Welsh theme for the Gala Dinner- thank you to her team for decorating the hall so beautifully. And full marks to chairman Lee Gwilliam for his dramatic entrance as a Welsh dragon.

BRISTOL MARRIOTT

What a weekend! We had 202 adults and 125 children! 173 attended the gala dinner 35 went bowling 25 played football 34 were looked after in the creche and 32 children took part in the workshops

Thank You!

Jo Dixon and Jenny Coleman said; “ to Fran and her team from Freedom Childcare for looking after the babies and children in the hotel so well - we would be lost without them and this year was the first in living memory when we have not had a parent contacted during the conference - contented children means calm parents! We rely so much on volunteers over the weekend, especially to help us offer the highest quality activities that we can.

Thank You!

to Stuart Brooks and his team of volunteer football coaches (Steve, Steven, Chris, Josh and Joseph) who once again ran the Reach Football Academy. To the workshop leaders Scott and Dawn Cuthbertson, magican, DJ and face painter of extraordinary talent who travel every year from Glasgow to join the Reach weekend and worked all morning and all evening for us - we really do appreciate all you give. Also to Sarah and Olivia and Jon who for the last three years have helped us no end with the workshops. The Hallowe’en theme worked brilliantly!

Thank You!

Last but by no means least, to the team of volunteers led by Joanna Neal who took 40 children bowling. These guys were expecting to go up into the trees on a high rope course but Storm Brian forced us to substitute and the team worked so hard to make the children’s experience just as much fun. So thanks to Lindsay, Hannah, Becki and Matthew for making sure the children had a fun morning. Without our volunteers, the weekend would not be as amazing as it is - we cannot praise you enough.

Thank You!

Finally, to Clarke Willmott, who generously sponsored the Gala Dinner.


Coronation Street star Melissa Johns led the drama workshops

A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW Reach Family Weekends have enjoyed the expertise of our own professional sound engineer James Jones for many years. He has been the creative genius behind the staging for the conference, the music and videos, and works very hard just off screen to make sure there is enough sound, glitz and glamour to make the event exciting. He has provided lots of limelight for others but prefers not to hog it himself. James has also produced a number of promotional videos for Reach which have helped enormously to raise the profile of limb difference and provide reassurance to families that their Reach child will grow up to be a confident, fully able, adult. James has now decided to step back from his role at the Family Weekend and we would like to thank him for everything he has done for Reach and wish him all the best in the future.

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REACH FAMILY WEEKEND

REACH PARALYMPIANS

HOLLIE ARNOLD MBE

Paralympic Champion, Triple World Champion, World Record Holder for the F46 Javelin.

“This morning it was crazy seeing so many people with the same arm difference as me. I thought this is great – my own little world!” said Hollie.

that nothing has really stopped me.

“My mum always feels guilty and she shouldn’t as I wouldn’t be who I am without my little arm. Thank you for making me independent and successful. I’m living proof

and if people say I can’t do something I say nothing has ever stopped me. Bring it on. I was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours but Rio was very very special. I use a throwing arm prosthetic to help me balance. Having one arm is not a disability but having a throwing prosthetic makes me balanced and helps to give a good posture. “What’s next – the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast and World Championships in 2019, then the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. I want to throw 50m by then. At the moment I can throw 42.02m, so that’s my goal.”

“I hated school as I was not academic but I was good at sports. I was always the first person to be changed for PE and the only sport I hated was rounders. I chose javelin as I was aggressive!

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“My school was fantastic with me and gave me time to train. When I was 13, I used to hate my arm because I felt different and I didn’t feel accepted and I was bullied, but that is life. Kids are cruel. There was one boy in particular who bullied me and my mum said punch him. I didn’t, but my cousin did! Maybe he had problems in his own background. “I first got into sport when I was 10 or 11. I did everything – rugby, football, cricket…we went to one event open to everyone and my brother picked up this javelin and so I picked one up and chucked it and people said that’s pretty good! “I got connected with Cleethorpes Athletics and did swimming but kept to athletics as I didn’t want to get up at 5am to train! I ended up in mixed ability competitions and was selected for Beijing. “At the age of 14 I was walking out in front of thousands of people. I managed to spot my parents wearing head to toe GB outfits, but the Paralympics weren’t that big in China. It was televised at 4am. But the experience was more than enough for me and from then on I knew I wanted to be a Paralympic Champion and World Champion. “In London I came 5th and was very disappointed. I had wanted more. Mum and dad moved to Wales for me to train and I knew what I wanted to do and put my heart and soul into it and the year after I became World Champion, “My career took off in 2013 and in 2015 I became Double World Champion. Then I injured my throwing arm two months before I was due to go to Rio. All the sacrifices we had made seemed to be wasted, so I got an injection and went to Rio and won Paralympic Gold and became Record Holder. It was the most amazing thing ever. “I can’t put into words how amazing it was and having my friends there was fantastic. My brother came over from Australia to watch me. “Reach’s motto is amazing. Nothing has ever stopped me

Hollie was presented with the 2017 Sue Stokes Award by Lee Gwilliam and Jo Dixon for her phenomenal determination and commitment to sporting excellence What do you do with your sponsor-branded Paralympic sportswear when the sponsor changes and you can’t wear it any more at official gatherings? Hollie had a brilliant and very generous answer. She donated armfuls of it to Reach to use in fundraising events and we started doing just that at the dinner dance, raising hundreds of pounds from the first items to go in the auction. More items were auctioned to great effect at the West Midland fundraiser.

Thank you, Hollie!


REACH PARALYMPIANS

CLAIRE CASHMORE

A seasoned Paralympian over four Paralympic Games with four Bronze Medals, three Silver and a Gold in swimming.

“How many people have been told they can’t do things and are not good enough?” challenged Claire. “Growing up with one arm, people told me that. When I was nine I went to a swimming gala and someone said ‘you can’t swim, you only have one arm. I bet you go round in circles.” “I thought let’s show them and when I got to the end of the pool she was way behind. I decided actions spoke louder than words. As we get older are we afraid of stepping outside our comfort zones? I was a very determined young girl and decided I wanted to become a Paralympian and I wanted to do everything, to be champion in everything. “Teenage years were really difficult and I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I just felt like no-one would ever want to be with me and that all my friends were perfect. I would wrap my arm up and wear my blazer in the summer. Boys said things like my arm made them feel sick and if they were born like that they would kill themselves. “But at the Athens Paralympics I was in the food hall and saw a guy with his feet on the table using his feet to eat and I just stared at him! “I saw so many people with so many disabilities so much more severe than mine not caring what people thought and so happy and confident in themselves whereas I wasn’t happy in my skin. “Stepping outside my comfort zone then and taking my jumper off was the scariest but the most exhilarating thing in my life. Another bonus was winning two bronze medals! “By 2008 I was number one and only got bronze because I freaked out because of a new Russian athlete but the best thing was realising you can’t be truly successful until you experience failure. “I didn’t really believe in myself and I needed to go back and work on my sports psychology. Then in 2012 in front of thousands of people feeling like the roof was going to lift off, I won silver. I had thought London would be it for me but then came Rio: silver again, I realised I had done to be the best I could be – then we won gold in the Relay. “You can’t dwell on disappointment. You can’t control competitions. Goals need to be with your control. So, the next time you say you can’t do something, add the word ‘yet’.”

TEAM UNLIMBITED - WINNERS OF SHED OF THE YEAR Steve Davis and Drew Murray gave an update on their work developing functional prosthetic hands using 3D printing. “We are trying to establish a project with the NHS, and hoping to get charitable status,” said Steve. “It’s just amazing to see the device going round the world. We are starting to see feedback and it’s fantastic to see things happening in war zones where it is a really accessible device, not the best, but the most accessible. We want to help even more people in the future.” Drew: “It’s humbling. We have an insanely full inbox.” They both have day jobs and create the prosthetic hands for people in their spare time - what spare time?

Then they took everyone by surprise at the conference by presenting Lee Gwilliam and Jo Dixon with a cheque for £2,500 to Reach.

THANK YOU, STEVE AND DREW!

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REACH FAMILY WEEKEND RUTH LESTER Retired Consultant Surgeon at Birmingham Children’s Hospital “Three years ago I retired as a plastic surgeon who has had the privilege of working with children with an upper limb difference for 26 years at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. “I trained at medical school, then had six years of surgical training and another year of specialist training before going into the sub specialty of children’s hand surgery.

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“So how does a surgeon think? The moment you walk through the door you are being assessed. We need to know your history. I go down on the floor with children with toys to see what is happening with them. We use X rays. The consultation is about listening and hearing both sides. “I am thinking about whether I can introduce new function or improve function. Toe to hand transfers are a really difficult decision to make. Will a toe be more useful on the hand or on the foot? A four-toed foot is not a big deal. It needs to be done before the child is three. The pathways that work from the brain to hand and general plasticity is much better in very young children. Also their memories of surgery are very short. But it is extraordinarily difficult as a parent to make that decision on behalf of your child. “Or we can watch your child grow and use things like splints for stretching or prosthetics.

ORLA DUNCAN Psychosocial Nurse Practitioner at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh “I provide psychosocial support for children with conditions that affect their appearance,” explained Orla. “I provide care for people under the care of the Plastic Surgery Team, and am there at meetings with the families in hospital and at home. I also go into schools. I dip in and out. People can phone me and I can step back in to provide support. “Common concerns are strategies for managing things like staring and rudeness. Many children have no issues at all but children begin to notice things aged six or seven and families need to know how to react if people stare or when the child asks why can’t I be like everyone else, or what happens when my friends find out. “Parents feel anger and guilt and they are worried that their child will be bullied at school, and want to know how to help with their self- image and know what the future holds. “What stands out to me is that the complex treatment choices are difficult and I talk to children and their parents and grandparents. Every parent wants their child to feel good. It is a myth that you have to be attractive to be successful and it is a myth that the more severe the disfigurement the more distress it causes. You cannot assume distress level. “Parents are human beings too and watching your child having a hard time is difficult. So social and family support is most important and at Reach all your children are one step ahead. But they need to develop resilience so they can bounce back. Look at what they are good at. It is actually behaviour rather than difference that predicts a successful outcome. So talk about it, be open and honest and positive as children mirror their parents’ attitudes”

“Because of the rarity, one doctor in their life time might never see these issues and schools will probably only ever have one child who is affected, but we need to make sure people know where to go for advice.” There was a clear message from the audience that it would be good to have clear guidelines for all health professionals so they can direct parents where to go for support and advice.

HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PAYMENT TO DIRECT DEBIT YET? It is an easy way to make a big contribution to the administration of Reach. All you need to do is give HO a call on 0845 130 6225 or from a mobile 020 3478 0100

THANK YOU to the Davies family for 20 years of running the amazing Tyncae Camp


SUE KENT

THE REACH EXHIBITION

Sports Massage Therapist using her feet. Sue Kent set up her massage couch in the exhibition area and gave 10 minute massages in front of a gaggle of curious onlookers. A queue quickly formed and then it was a case of getting your name on the list and waiting! The massages were amazing. Ten minutes went very quickly such a shame she is too far away for most of us to book a longer session. Lucky old Welsh Reach members! “I remember realising at the age of seven that I was different and I wanted to look like everyone else,” she said. “But I didn’t need to worry as I have got a fantastic husband and child and grandchild. My life has been very active. I use pedals on my canoe and I ride my bike. I cox for sea rowing and I ski.

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“I had a career as a buyer for Argos until my parents became ill and I needed a job with more flexibility. So I googled massage by feet and I found some people absolutely LOVE feet. “I had to do face massage as well as body massage in order to get qualified and insured and I rented a room in Mumbles. Suddenly ITV was at my door filming me massaging a face with my feet. “I looked into getting training for sports massage but it proved difficult so I went to Disability Sports Wales and they gave me a test run and I worked trackside every week. The university was running a course and I passed. “I learned some hard life lessons. “If you have problems ask for help from the right people. “Don’t accept unacceptable behaviour. “Don’t let one or two ignorant people destroy your access to opportunity. “I applied and was accepted to provide massage for the Paralympics and working in the village was the most positive experience I have ever had. It was a bubble of positivity and acceptance.

I massaged Jonathon Edwards for the BBC and got lots of publicity. “I’ve stopped doing events now and teach in colleges and talk about disability because people worry about disability. “What is important for people with a disability is the ongoing maintenance of a healthy body. It is vital. We have a lot of muscle tone imbalance that needs correcting.”


REACH FAMILY WEEKEND JOEL GIBBARD Open Bionics and the Open Hand Project “The Open Hand Project was just the beginning and Open Bionics aims to make hands that are affordable and desirable,” said Joel. “From now to January we are testing the product and hopefully from Summer 2018 it will be available on the NHS. “The NHS has been very supportive of us but I don’t know when it will all happen. We do have funding though to develop the product further. We are also involved in clinical trials at the Bristol Centre for Development. To help move things forward please pester your clinic and tell them to reach out to us. “At the moment we are only working on hands, not partial hands or above elbow. They are not available for very young children because of the cost of producing a separate much smaller motor. We haven’t finalised the costs but it will be lower than any other bionic hand. We want to make the price Dan as low as possible.” After the confrerence Joel explained: “At With these arms Open Bionics, we’re turning children with limb differences into superheros by developing they make you bionic arms based on their favourite Disney films and video games. These are affordable, highly func- stand out for all tional, multi-grip myoelectric prosthetics that kids the right reasons. can get really excited about and feel proud to wear.

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“They’re not just getting medical devices, they’re getting cutting-edge bionic hands inspired by their favourite characters such as the Iron Man hand hot out of Tony Stark’s workshop, the Star Wars lightsaber hand, and the Snowflake hand, inspired by Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen.

People say Wow- that is amazing!

We use new technologies like 3D scanning and printing to revolutionise the prosthetic design and fitting process, making life easier for both amputees and clinicians. The scanning takes about two minutes, and we can then build the socket in 24 hours. We’re really proud of this achievement as current hospital-grade myoelectric hands and limbs can cost up to £65,000 and in some cases don’t fit well. Our bionic arms will be ready in 2018, and we’re also currently running a 6-month NHS trial with 10 children and young people living with upper limb differences in the south west. This trial has just been expanded by the NHS so our devices will be in four more clinics across England soon. “We pride ourselves on working really closely with amputees, and encourage them to give feedback on the look, feel and potential movements of the hand. One of our users is 11-yearold Tilly, who had meningitis when she was 15 months old and had to have both her hands amputated. Tilly loves heroes and super powers, so in 2016 we worked with her to design a very stylish Deus Ex bionic arm, which we showcased at the San Diego Comic Con. “Instead of people thinking they feel sorry for you because you don’t have a hand,” said Tilly, “They’re like: ‘Oh my gosh, that’s a cool hand!’” “Our bionic hands are light and small enough for those as young as eight, and we attach sensors to the skin to detect the user’s muscle movements, which can be used to control the hand and open and close the fingers. They’re ventilated and come with removable covers so users can choose to be an Avenger one day and Queen Elsa the next. It’s a really exciting time, and our incredible engineering team are always innovating, so by 2037 we’re aiming to develop a bionic hand with human level function. Until then, keep your eyes peeled for the launch of our first bionic arm in 2018.”

Melville and Luke Manson testing their bionic hands “I’m a self employed 3D printer/designer,” said Dan, pictured above left, “And my arm stops just below the elbow. When I was growing up I used to have prostheses – NHS hands - and I really didn’t like them. I used the original myo-electric hand but I didn’t like it either as they all made me feel out of place.

“People would notice straight away and question me about what happened to my arm. It put me off having them as they made me stand out like a sore thumb. I felt more natural without one. I could get away with it. “When Joel started the Open Hand Project he was doing 3D hands and I offered to test it and he asked if I wanted to help him – that is how it started three years ago. “I have been testing them ever since. They get more and more advanced but at the beginning they were quite bulky and now they are slimmed down and more powerful. “I test for functionality and looks. I field test it and go to events and it is pretty awesome. With these arms they make you stand out for all the right reasons. People say Wow- these are amazing but when I was a kid they were far too expensive. With these, people want to take photos and tell me how cool it is and that is so different from having people coming up saying what happened to your arm. “It boosts you as a person. I am field testing them now but I will be owning one soon.”


OHMI: THE ONE HANDED MUSICAL INSTRUMENT TRUST

Football burned off the energy but the indoor bowling required great concentration!

OHMI and Peter Worrell brought a range of instruments for people to try. It can lead to amazing things - see what happened to Eva!

“I’ve recently been invited to have the opportunity to gain an accredited qualification through The OHMI Trust and I will be attending an Arts Award Day at the end of November where I will meet other students and gain a certificate and qualification at the same time, I’m very nervous but very excited too!

“At the Reach AGM in 2015 in the corridor I walked past a lady who had a trumpet and cornet on a stand and I asked if I could have a go,” said Eva Meneghetti. “I did and then she said that for someone who had never tried before I had a good blow and that there was a workshop inside if I wanted to go and see it.

“I can’t believe that from walking past and asking to having a go on a cornet at a Reach Family Weekend it has ended up with me now being confident and playing the cornet! I am very grateful to OHMI for giving me the opportunity and helping me grow in confidence.”

“I went in and tried the trumpet and the cornet. The lady from outside then came in and said that I was the strongest she’d heard all day and asked if I’d like music lessons for a year on the cornet! From that I started to have weekly cornet lessons at the local secondary school through OHMI. “OHMi is a great charity and it has helped me over the past year in so many different ways. Previously through Reach I hired a one handed recorder when we did recorder lessons in class at school which was great, but being able to learn the cornet through OHMI has helped me grow in confidence and I can now play things such as ode to joy by Beethoven, Harry Potter tunes and of course Happy Birthday! “Back in April I was invited by OHMI to take part in a collaboration workshop with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at G Live, Guildford. It was an amazing experience and I got to meet some very talented musicians and it was amazing to take my cornet and play with them.

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SINGLE-HANDED MAN POWER “I am a computer programmer by profession but as a sideline I do product testing for Joel at Open Bionics,” said Luke Manson. “Most of my life I haven’t use a prosthetic. Those I tried, I didn’t like. But the one I’m testing now is great. I got into working with them by chance. “I met Ollie their electrical engineer at a live music event in a pub and he said he made prosthetics so I showed him my hand. That was nearly two years ago and for the first year or so we just went to gigs together and then four or five months ago he asked me if I would test this 3D printed prosthetic.

The cyborg look is very attractive! It’s really cool.

“NHS ones I felt were all trying too hard to blend skin colour without looking like a hand but when I wore them I didn’t feel like it was anything to do with me. The new technology behind prosthetics being made today is great. Now the focus isn’t about trying to make you look normal so much as increasing function. Looking cyborg is very attractive! It’s really cool.

BELONGING TO THE REACH FAMILY 16

“Last week we attended our first Reach Family Weekend. I’ve at last finished raving to my friends and family about what an amazing time we had,” writes Amy Roskilly in her blog. “Fitting in is one of those things that has always eluded me, consequently Hero’s sense of belonging and fitting in has always been incredibly important to me. Being a part of the Reach community is a huge element in my grand ‘Give Hero Self Confidence’ scheme and so far so good. “I’m always pretty confident that wherever Hero is going, she’ll stand out somewhat and be easily identifiable. Dropping her off at the Reach crèche I realised that she wasn’t necessarily going to stand out today. She was instead joining a group of children just like her. She was going to fit right in. That realisation brought mixed feelings, and I started to recognise that a part of me actually loves the fact that she’s noticeably unique. Yet there’s the other part of me too, that just wants her to fit in.

“Before I had an awesome prosthetic I had to find ways of making people think I was not disabled - I had to show them how I could roll a ciggy one handed – things like that. When I met new people I would be waiting for the glance and then the questions about my arm. Now I don’t need to do anything about it. I don’t have to think about how the person I’m talking to is thinking about me. “It has changed the way I perceive myself and I feel way more confident. It really changed everything. When I was growing up felt I was very different, When we moved to Malaysia it was permanently hot so I couldn’t wear long sleeves and hide my arm. “I spent many many hours in front of a mirror to get my gait right to make myself seem more normal. Because my arm is lighter, it sits higher up and you tend to walk with your arm bent at the elbow. I worked on my arm swing and it is deliberate and now I do it from habit. But it is important to try and look normal when you are a teenager. I had to really focus on how I wanted to make myself perceived by people and it changed how I spoke to people. I wasn’t always confident. “Since I was born my dad refused to help me with things. Instead, he taught me how to do things. He taught me how to move my wrist. As a scientist he knew there were muscles that needed to be trained and now that is probably the most useful muscle that I have in that hand. I can use the hook of my wrist to open doors and rock climb. Without that hook my arm would be useless. It was huge what my dad did for me.”

DON’T FORGET TO BUY REACH CHRISTMAS CARDS! THIS ONE IS BY A REACH CHILD! ORDER YOUR PACKS FROM THE REACH WEBSITE

“We’ve only been part of the ‘Reach family’ for a year. Yet, at the Reach gala dinner, I’d never felt more like I belonged. I was chatting with amazingly talented professionals, paralympians and actresses, to find that they were just as curious about my daughter and me as I was about them. I was sitting with families from my regional branch who I already call my friends. “I recall vividly the days before we sent off our application to become Reach members, thinking how unlucky I was that the rest of my life I was going to be tied to this charity. It felt unfair. Isn’t life funny when some of your biggest misgivings can turn out to be your biggest blessings. I only wish that everyone had a community like this to be a part of. Somewhere they can feel confident, somewhere they can ask questions and somewhere they can just be welcomed with open arms and fit right in, regardless of background, outlook or feelings.”

JUST GO TO: www.reach.org.uk


GIRL POWER EMILY ON FLYING SOLO WITH SUPPORT FROM REACH If you live with a disability, going solo is that little bit more difficult. Whether it’s living alone, travelling alone or working alone, not being able to ask for help when you need it can be frustrating. Whenever I talk to people about things I can and cannot do, things I find hard to do and things that I’ve given up with, it all comes down to one thing: time. For example; in a two-handed world, people only know how to do things two-handedly so when we try to learn something new we have to figure out our own way of doing it. This takes time. And usually, it’s easier – and quicker – to just ask someone else to do it for us.

Something that helped me more than anything was attending the Reach Activity Week.

It’s a struggle, not just because we have to find different ways of doing things but because if you’re stubborn, like me, you’ll want to do everything yourself without the help. And even if you’re not stubborn it can still be frustrating when you find yourself stuck and unable to do something. We have to learn to persevere with things.

If you are a Reach child, teenager, young adult or older then through Reach events and activities you know that you are not alone. I think it can feel quite isolating if you’re known as the only one-armed girl in town, or the only one-armed person someone insists on telling you they’ve seen.

Something that helped me more than anything was attending the Reach Activity Week. Not only did I feel more comfortable, safe and content surrounded by fellow arm buddies, I also felt enlightened. The things I learnt during that one week of summer were enough to get me through the year.

But you’re NOT the only person and being frustrated with the way someone treats or speaks to you is only letting them win. Enjoy your individuality. And remember when you’re out there taking on the world on your own, that there’s always someone at Reach who knows how you feel.

I remember my parents trying for ages to help me learn how to tie up my hair. We tried everything and I could not do it! Then one year at RAW, one of the other girls demonstrated to the rest of us how she tied her hair up (threw her head upsidedown so her little arm could reach). I tried it out and hey presto! I managed to mirror what she did and found it so much easier. I remember after that, it took me a few goes to get it spot on. But I had learnt something new that I maybe wouldn’t have thought to do or been shown how to do by my two handed peers. As well as learning new ways of doing things, we have to learn new attitudes. We have to learn how to be tolerant and patient. Going out into the world can be daunting, especially as a teenager, or even a young adult, after spending so much time around family and friends who know how we do things. I often find myself frustrated with customers at work, strangers on public transport, not to mention the aggravating double-takes and stares from people in the street. Human curiosity can be harmful when it feels so invasive. But because we are different, we have to learn to accept and remember that people will naturally stare. they will naturally want to know what has happened.

NEW REACH BABYWEAR Reach can now offer new baby T shirts, in sizes 3-6 months up to 3 years. Order them via the website: www.reach.org.uk

One of the skills I learned at RAW - the can-do hair-do demonstrated by my friend Lizzie, who taught me how to do it, as I now have short hair!

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A HUGE THANK YOU FOR YOUR PUTTING THE FUN INTO FUNDRAISING On September 16th Peter Baxter, Paul Mayes, Carl Buckley, Lee Gould and Peter’s son Pete left Market Harborough on foot to start the 14 mile walk along the Brampton Valley Way. “Over the next five and a half hours we strolled along in dry weather and just enjoyed each other’s company,” said Peter.

JIMI’S MUDDY WOLF RUN

“There was as much laughter as walking along the way. For the last two miles Lee’s daughter, my granddaughter, Kelsie joined us to remind us of why we were there. Kelsie’s left arm ends just below the elbow. At the end of the walk we were met by some family and friends and whilst enjoying a pint, or two Carl said it was just too much fun not to be done again another year! We are happy to donate a sum of £759 raised through sponsorship for having a good time!

Keen runner Jimi Lauf is aiming to raise £500 after completing the Wolf Run, a 10k wild running event in November, with testing obstacles including river swims, walls to climb, and the most difficult obstacle - the mud sucker “very thick mud, almost paralysing if you don’t keep moving, very difficult!” Jimi was inspired to fundraise for Reach by his partner’s daughter Erin. “She was born with one arm,” he said, “But this doesn’t stop her doing anything. Her sheer determination and intelligence means she is unstoppable! It’s truly a pleasure to be a part of her life, she is a true inspiration!

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“So far I’ve raised £200 but donations can be made until February next year. I am going to do some fundraising at work and maybe do a presentation, talking about Reach, what I did and why I did it see if I can raise awareness and hit my fund raising goal.” Good luck, Jimi!

SPORTING ROUND-UP PRODUCES SPECTACULAR RESULTS Between them, three runners at different sporting events have raised an amazing total of £5,361.47 for Reach. Nikki Gooch raised £662.97 by running the Hampton Court Half Marathon in February, Jonathan seed raised £1,477.50 at the Yorkshire Tough Mudder 2017. Jim Mills raised a total of £3,221.00 when he ran the Cardiff Half Marathon. Brilliant results!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATIONS Debra and Ian Graham, donated their Algarve Villa as a prize, Paul Taylor donated £550 and Sue and Steve McMahon gave prizes and bought tickets - all for the Bolton Ball. Sir Antony Reardon Smith regularly supports Reach and has donated a further £1,500. The 2nd Heathfield Brownies have a charity pot and the girls bring in a few pennies every week to add to the collection, raising £26.52. At the end of the term they suggested some charities they knew of and voted for Reach.

The Taiyuan restaurant in Falkirk raised £600 from collection tins for the Scottish Branch. The Grace family took their ride-on-steam train to several village fetes around Suffolk and completed over 20 kilometres of passenger rides to raise £440 over the summer. Gordon Primary Nursery School in Huntley raised £155 with an end of term presentation. One of the children has an upper limb difference so they choose Reach as their charity. Emma Button’s grandparents Jean and Dennis Button ran a coffee morning for residents at Hamilton Quay in Eastbourne, raising £290. It has become an annual event with generous support. Claire Cashmore gave a presentation to the Lodge of Warwickshire Installed Masters, and the collection raised £1,400. Collection tins in Newport, Pembrokeshire organised by Freya’s grandmother Geraldine Griffiths, raised £45. The Ilminster 41 Club collected £148 in memory of the late Alan Braley, who had been a fund raiser for Reach. Mr Braley had upper body problems and he was an inspiration to everyone he met. Friends of Stephanie and Daniel Tennent held a collection at their son’s funeral and raised £400 for the Scottish Branch. Donations of £408.75 were made to the East Anglia Branch in lieu of flowers in memory of the late Derrick William Willgress.


FANTASTIC FUNDRAISING

WEST MIDLANDS REACH DISCO Saturday 28th October was a long time coming. Preparations started in March for the West Midlands Reach Disco. This was to be my first fundraising event as new branch coordinator. What a night it turned out to be! 120 people came to Hatchford Brook Golf Club to support our wonderful charity! The room looked amazing. Our DJ and compere was incredible. The prizes were fabulous and I would like to take this opportunity to thank again all our kind and generous sponsors. Thank you to all the people who couldn’t make the event and made very generous donations and of course thank you to the magnificent people in the room on the night where we raised over £1000 on the raffle and over £1500 on the auction! I am genuinely thrilled to write that we raised a phenomenal total of £4,032.17!

NORTH WEST BALL RAISES OVER £10,000 Planning for our Reach North West Ball began last September. We started to look for a venue that would fit over 150 people and selected The Last Drop Village, Bolton and were delighted with the service, friendliness of staff and willingness to help. The theme was James Bond and everyone came looking very glamorous. To raise funds throughout the evening we had a raffle, plus a grand raffle to win two flights to New York, an auction and photo booth. Jennifer Graham and Paul Burns hosted the evening and made sure we kept to the time plan. This was Jennifer’s first time hosting and she was fantastic! It’s not a job I could do. Behind the scenes a lot of Lloyds staff helped - two Louises, Alison, Julie, Kath, Lizzy and Chelsea. We had amazing speakers and everyone commented on how inspiring they were. Reach member Baylee Abbott received a standing ovation, Tim Honeywell received many laughs on his tales of growing up and Lucy Martin from BBC Weather talked about applying to the BBC and what her job entails. Then Melissa Johns, who has recently been on Coronation Street was fantastic with the auction. We would have loved to have Melissa speak but genuinely ran out of time. We started the event earlier and time passes so quickly. After the auction we danced to Motown hits which everybody loved. Thank you to all the guests, speakers and Reach members. Ian and Debra Graham, for donating a week stay in their villa in Portugal. I really feel we have raised awareness of Reach from the marvellous, uplifting speeches. The total we have raised once all funds through from Lloyds Bank Foundation will be over £10,000. I hope you can join us in 2019 ! We will go bigger! Jane Crook

I’m really looking forward to organising some special and exciting meet ups for the West Midlands in the very near future. Tracey Smith

GREAT EASTERN HALF MARATHON Nurse and Reach member Allison Temple from Spalding completed the Great Eastern Half Marathon and raised £255 for Reach.

A FIRST 5K FOR JENNIFER Jennifer Brennand, Kent Branch Co-ordinator Martine McCahon’s sister, raised over £150 on her first 5k run. ”Thank you so much to everyone,” she said.” And an extra special thank you to Arun and to my B2R family for the support and push I needed. “I currently feel amazing and I get to give an amazing amount of money to Reach thanks to my sponsors. “Reach is an amazing charity that has helped my niece and her mummy, daddy and big brother through what was a difficult time and they still continue to support to this day.”

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MEMBERS’ NEWS STRONGMAN LUKE After the birth of my son 27 years ago, I pondered what life might hold for him, what will he miss out on and what will he not be able to do. I suspect that this is a thought that many parents new to this situation have and by no means feel that I am alone.

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Well I’m happy to say that any such notions have been thoroughly quashed throughout the years. All expectations that we could have had have been surpassed by Luke who has achieved things such as 1st class honours in Chemistry, 1st Dan Black Belt, PhD, plus numerous activities such as climbing in Norway through to Kayaking through Sweden. We could not be more proud of him, however I now write in awe over Luke’s latest achievements. Just when we thought that we could be shocked no more, Luke announced he would be taking part in Britain’s Strongest Disabled Man 2017 competition in May. Luke was the only competitor in the category with an upper limb difference, he made good account of himself getting a wild card to The World’s Strongest Disabled Man competition in September 2017. He wasn’t happy with this and wanted to qualify in his own right, so next stop July 2017 was Germany where he finished 3rd in his category thus qualifying him for WSDM 2017 in his own right. London Olympic Village September 3rd 2017, Luke lined up with a whole host of other athletes from around the world. In a competition that was mainly focussed on upper body ability. Again he was the only competitor with an upper limb difference. He finished 8th, which is no mean feat as he had only been training for this for seven months.

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So my message to boys, girls, young men and women with conditions such as Luke’s is “You can be whatever you want to be” as guts and determination will see you through. To parents - trust me They will find their own way and become great individuals Anyone wishing to follow Luke on Instagram his tag is @Stumpstrength or if you have any queries or information please feel free to contact Julie Cartwright at MrsC1987@icloud.com.

FOOTBALL STAR TAITUM Taitum aged seven, is over the moon having won this half term’s Star Player trophy in after school football. Taitum enjoys sport and has a new gymnastic arm to enable her to do handstands and cartwheels.

WELCOME TO NEW REACH BABY BLAKE Our beautiful boy Blake is 11 months old now and he's such a happy little chappy. He was born with Symbrachydactyly of his left hand. Even at this young age you can see that he is a determined wee thing. His favourite task at the moment is picking up peas with his left hand. We really enjoyed meeting everyone at the Reach Family Weekend and look forward to the ongoing support from this group. Helen Maslem


BRANCH NEWS NORTH WEST HAD A BALL AT INFLATANATION Its been a busy few months in the North West Branch! After our wonderful weekend in the Lakes in July we were treated to a fantastic night of fundraising at the Ball at The Last Drop Village Bolton. I am so grateful to Jane Crook. She works tirelessly with her team at Lloyds to organise this event. It was brilliant. And it was an absolute pleasure to meet Lucy Martin and Melissa Johns. Two lovely girls to inspire our young members. A huge well done to Baylee Abbott for her talk. She was so confident. I am so proud of her, she has come such a long way from the shy, quiet little girl I first met. Our latest meet up was held at the recently refurbished Inflatanation. We had over 60 people join us at this event and both the children and the adults thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nice to see a few new faces and also to catch up with our regulars! A wonderful venue, well worth a visit! Our next news will be from the Christmas party in December to finish off a busy year! Cheryl Danson

NOTTINGHAM ACTIVITY DAY The Nottingham Mobility Team held a children’s activity day, to inspire children to keep active and to build their confidence in sports and activities. Around 30 children and their families attended the event held at City Hospital, supported by LimbPower. Special guest speakers, Paralympic gold runner Richard Whitehead and Paralympic silver swimmer Charlotte Henshaw shared their stories as congenital amputees growing up, who started their journeys at the Mobility Centre as children. Richard Whitehead, a double amputee who has previously run 40 marathons in 40 days, said: “I think if the youngster is very resilient like I was and very determined to make the best out of their circumstance, they can achieve success. My parents were very keen to use the opportunity and power of sport to open opportunities for me. “It’s very important to have staff who are dynamic and geared to working towards the needs of the individual and having confidence and resilience. My advice to parents is to work with staff in prosthetics to get the best out of their expertise and the service.” Chris Walker, Physiotherapist at Nottingham Mobility Centre, said: “Children’s day has been a great success and we really hope we have helped inspire you to do more as parents and children and please get in touch to find out more about activities and opportunities on offer.” This is the first Children’s day the Nottingham Mobility Centre has held and they are hoping to make it an annual event with more activities for the children to get stuck into. More information on Nottingham Mobility Centre: http://bit.ly/2iG0n5K

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BRANCH NEWS THE RESTORATIVE POWER OF TEA

South Wales Branch mums left the dads at home looking after the children and gave themselves a little treat - a well-being afternoon tea. “We chatted all things Reach and other things too, whilst consuming several cups of tea and some rather scrumptious treats. “We feel very lucky to have each other and this afternoon tea gave us a chance to enjoy each other’s company without any of the usual distractions. We just ‘get’ each other and this was a brilliant way to celebrate our friendships. Thanks Reach for bringing us together.” Melissa Beesley

SUSSEX RACE DAY AND CHARITY RAFFLE Sussex RC Car Club put on a special RC race day/charity raffle and cup cake sale in August and raised £300 for REACH. The cars we run are 1/5 scale and Evan Sexton-Playford, our 8 year old son who is a Reach child with a left amniotic amputation, races along with us in the Junior class.

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He loves racing with me and his big brother Owen. This was the first time he had been in a real timed race and managed to finish 2nd in his final. Kevin Playford

PASSED FIRST TIME!

Jenny Alderman has successfully passed her driving test at the first attempt in a manual car. “When she first started driving we seriously considered using only automatic cars,” said mum Louise, “But after taking advice from a friend who also has Poland Syndrome and who drives herself, we went for a manual and boy are we glad we did! Jenny has proved that if you want something bad enough, nothing will stop you!”


BRANCH NEWS

THE SCOTTISH BRANCH AT ARDONAIG Well what another fabulous weekend!

It is my favourite weekend of the year meeting up with everyone and catching up, seeing the kids grow and just have such a great time running about playing with best friends they only see maybe once or twice a year! Congratulations to Scooby (Stuart ) and Lara who finally won the amazing team challenge after 10 years! Abdul, Aayan, Cameron and Leigha have been coming for four years and this was their first time in the winning team too. Thanks again for coming - next year it's the 3rd - 5th August and booking opens early in 2018! Mags Millar

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NORTHERN IRELAND SUMMER FUN DAY Northern Ireland branch held their summer meet up at Loughshore Park outside Belfast, and had a picnic. The children were most excited about a gigantic worm they found in the woods as you can see in the photograph!. This was the first Reach event for Northern Ireland’s newest and youngest branch member, Riley Stockdale. We'd like to give a big welcome to Riley and his family to the branch. Lynne McKinley


Attending the Family Weekend always makes me feel like I have a bigger family. The friends I have made over the years are true friends. I look forward to this weekend so much.

Attending the Family Weekend made me feel fantastic and very happy.

To hear I wasn’t the only one facing the problem made it easier to deal with and help my own child. Charity No: 1134544

It enabled our teenage son to spend special time with great friends in these very formative years.


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