Associate Teams Up With Charity
A Birmingham solicitor took time out from court hearings and casework to help a children’s charity make dreams come true for a group of youngsters battling life threatening illness.
Lindsay Gibb, an Associate with the Birmingham office of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors was one of more than 30 volunteers who gave up their spare time to help give a group of deserving children and their families a magical trip to Florida.
Organised by Midlands charity, Caudwell Children, ‘Destination Dreams’ is a once in a lifetime holiday, specifically designed to create precious memories for families facing the trauma of their child’s terminal illness. The charity relies upon volunteers and fundraising to make the dream trip a reality.
Lindsay explained: “This is the third year running that Caudwell Children have organised the trip and I was staggered by the amount of organisation and planning which went into making everything run like clockwork. The charity works very closely with Virgin as, with so many wheelchair users, we needed assistance with check-in and boarding. On arrival in Orlando a fleet of adapted buses were waiting to whisk the families to their very special accommodation.
“Aptly named ‘Give Kids the World,’ the purpose built resort where the families stay, is designed to give disabled children a once in a lifetime experience.
“Its like a toy town, where everything they could possibly wish for comes true – presents are left on their bed each day, they get to eat dinner in a ‘gingerbread house,’ have free ice-cream at any time of the day and there’s even a night-time hot chocolate van!”
However the real highlights of the nine-day long trip were the visits to the Orlando theme parks where families were assisted by the volunteers throughout the day.
Lindsay continued: “Jessica - one of the children I spent time with – is visually impaired with a rare genetic condition and her wish - to feed dolphins - came true at Sea World which was magical to see. She also enjoyed getting close up with the characters at Disney World who let her touch and stroke them. Her brother, who is just a year older than her, also had a great time on all the rides and it was great to see the whole family relaxing and having fun together away from the physical and emotional difficulties of caring for Jess at home”
“Another little boy, Kavanagh, was so excited to have the chance to meet Mickey Mouse. We searched the whole park trying to find his favourite character and when we finally found Mickey, little Kav’s face just lit up!”
In her professional role as a medical law solicitor, Lindsay’s casework often brings her into contact with families with disabled children.
Lindsay explained: “Although my work means I have a good understanding of the needs of disabled children and their families, spending time with them in a ‘hands- on’ role gave me a much better understanding of the day to day difficulties they face.
“It was fantastic to see the difference this holiday made to them. The parents looked so much more relaxed by the end of the week. For many this was not only their first holiday abroad but their first holiday ever as a family.
This project is about giving the whole family a holiday of a lifetime and lasting memories to treasure after the child is no longer with them. It is also about giving something back to the brothers and sisters who often miss out, as life inevitably has to revolve around the disabled child.
“Destination Dreams is an amazing project to have been part of. I have made some life-long friends and the memories will stay with me forever.”
Families who would like to be considered for ‘Destination Dreams’ or any volunteers who would like to apply to help in 2011, should contact www.caudwellchildren.com or call 0845 3001348