A mother whose son has been left paralysed from the chest down is holding a fund-raising charity ball to support the spinal unit who treated him and a charity that provides hope of a cure.
Waverton woman Leonie Hallam’s 31-year-old son Mathew was involved in a serious road accident last August along with two friends as they walked from the popular Denbigh and Flint Show.
Police are still investigating the collision which left Mathew, from Bodfari, Denbigshire, with multiple injuries as well as paralysis meaning he must now use a wheelchair.
Mum Lee, who has two other children, felt helpless until seeing a Panorama programme about Bulgarian man Darek Fidyka who learned to walk again with a frame thanks to the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation founded by David Nicholls whose son was left paralysed 10 years ago following a swimming accident in Australia.
Lee, whose Aardvarker company managed up coming teenage singer-songwriter Milly Pye from Northwich, said: ‘Mathew is amazing. He’s turned a corner and thought ‘Right, I’m going to make a life for myself and my family, no matter what’. I’m really proud of him.’ ‘He is determined to get back to work as soon as possible!’
‘He is living proof that even out of something terrible you can have the strength to continue. Although, not one for ‘the limelight, he does want to demonstrate this to others who may be suffering similar life changing situations.’
Now Lee has organised a Midsummer Charity Ball at Chester’s Doubletree by Hilton to support the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation who she hopes may one day include her son in its future trials which involve intense rehabilitation and cell transplantation. In addition, the ball will raise funds for The Spinal Unit at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Gobowen, which treated Mathew and where he received a signed photograph and words of encouragement from TV adventurer Bear Grylls, who himself spent 12 months in and out of rehabilitation following a free-fall parachuting accident.
Lee has been even more inspired, determined and hopeful for Mathew since meeting charity founder David Nicholls and the world’s first successful patient Darek Fidyka, plus celebrity patrons Gary Lineker, Claire Lomas, and Frank Gardner at a recent reception in London.
An agricultural consultant, Mathew, who is from Lee’s first marriage, is engaged to Elinor Lloyd and they have a three-year-old son Jac with a wedding planned for next year.
Lee explained: “He’s got a fantastic girlfriend. Initially he said ‘You should leave me’ but she said ‘Absolutely not, whether you’re walking or in a wheelchair, you’re going down the aisle with me Mathew Evans!”
Lee said what happened came as ‘quite a shock’ to Mathew’s two younger siblings because he has always been their ‘active, superhero’ older brother. Between them the pair raised over £1,000 for a motorised fifth wheel for his wheelchair last month. Brother Luke, 16, completed a four-day trek in the Pennines and sister Charlotte, 10, rode the world’s longest and fastest zip wire at Bethesda, North Wales.
Lee, who is currently working for an official European travel agent for this autumn’s 2015 Rugby World Cup hosted by England, said the Midsummer Ball on Friday June 12 will include food, drink, live music all evening, a prize draw and silent auction, culminating in a ‘fabulous live band for dancing’. Prizes and support have come from actor Rhys Ifans, action man Bear Grylls, celebrity chef Michel Roux and new country chart toppers The Shires, Chester luxury travel company ITC Classics and many more.
Tickets still available at £55 each, or tables of ten from £500. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to buy tickets or for more information, including sponsorship opportunities.