There’s an old African proverb that says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ and I can’t get this out of my head. Thursday was simply awesome but only because of the support we had. We talk about `LimbBo’ being a family and that’s not a cliche it really is a family with different generations, different strengths, different ways of doing things but one big group that really does have everyone’s back.
Our volunteers were friends, parents, cousins, nephews and nieces, sisters, grandparents, work colleagues, sisters in law, husbands, wives… the amount and diversity of support and talent just reinforced that we can’t do what we do without this huge extended family behind us.
At several points during the day many of the children formed their own groups, alternately hugging and laughing or hitting one another with inflatables and throwing wet sponges at one another and at adults!
Yes it rained, yes the fire engine had to do a detour through the farmer’s field to get in, yes there were minor hiccups but nothing was going to get in the way of these children enjoying themselves.
For many of them it was the first time they had met another limb different child, for others it was a chance to reconnect with friends made in previous years. For all of them this day is the one day when they are in the majority, not only are they surrounded by other limb different children they are surrounded by children who are completely comfortable with limb difference as they are siblings or friends. No one stares or is surprised at the range of differences or prosthetics on show (no one feels the need to hide their arm or leg on LimbBo days)
As the day progressed our children were transformed into amazing unicorns or superheroes by S. Hellen our talented face painters. It did make me smile to listen to the fireman debating having their faces painted and how long it would take them to remove it if they got called out on a shout. As you can see from the photos, they decided to risk it.
We had two of the major prosthetic providers in the UK with us, Koalaa and Open Bionics. Both do amazing and life changing work which give our children choices and we are proud to work closely with both of them. You may have seen Tommy and Lottie on ITN news – they received their hero arms on Tuesday (not that this was a busy week for our trustees at all) in Bristol and we have a new campaign starting very shortly to support Alexia, Josh and Thalia to also work towards Hero arms.
Koalaa gave advice, demonstrated the new Nicole tool for Surfing yoga and gymnastics, provided new soft prosthetics in record time and showed the colourful new sleeves for those who already have ALX arms.
The newest edition to the LimbBo family made his debut appearance and was an instant hit although maybe rugby tackling the mayor wasn’t the best idea! Our limb different mascot cut his arrival fine and gave Katie sleepless nights worrying if he would be here on time, he was a real success and will be heading into schools this year.
The mayor had to be dragged out of the Zumba class with her driver shaking his head and smiling, Dan Jarvis Barnsley Central MP came along and was really interested in our work. He organises the Pride of its Barnsley awards which Adam and Katie won in 2019. He introduced us to Marie a colleague of his who herself has a limb difference and has agreed to be an ambassador for LimbBo (you don’t meet the LimbBo family and not feel instantly part of it)
Our resident storyteller, Eden, fresh from The Fringes in Toronto, Cheltenham (who knew they had a Fringe) and Edinburgh, made all of our children feel special with laughter and lots of over-the-top acting. Libbi was a bundle of energy at Zumba and Verity even got Layla to try Yoga – if you know LJ you will understand what an achievement this was. The Active Club are now a permanent fixture at adventure days and really understand our children. The bell tent was bought from proceeds of Katie’s parent’s ‘Bangers to Benidorm’ fund raiser and the Lego was donated by supporters in Darton. The world’s most impressive bubble station (oak top no less – created by Adam) will definitely be making another appearance.
Creature Ark was a massive hit with everyone (except Jane who could only stand outside and take photos with a zoom lens🤣)
Balloons delivered and gifted, family vouchers donated from Cannon Hall farm cricket by the club itself, bouncy castle, under 2s area, art tent all organised and run by volunteers many of which were with us last year. We had volunteers working all day Wednesday and Thursday – putting up marquees, lunch, sign in, car parking, litter picking, sorting t shirts, making signs, singing, taking photographs, making announcements- everyone played to their strengths and it all ran like a ‘fairly’ well oiled machine.
We had a video company creating a record of the day, a special young man celebrating his 8th birthday and being awarded the Glenn Crossland award that we started last year.
It feels like we are establishing family traditions – this is what we do at our family get togethers – a sports day, medals, bbq lunch, lots of hugs and laughter.
None of this would be possible without the support of. Cawthorne Cricket club (especially Dale and his amazing wife who I know as Mrs Dale – I’m so sorry I’ve forgotten your name!) who allow us to use their venue for free and are so helpful. Their granddaughter joined us this year in keeping with our family theme – she was asleep by the time her parents got to the end of the drive, so I think she enjoyed it. You may also have seen the Bapp logo on your t shirt -they have been long standing supporters and regularly make us tearful with their generosity.
I really hope we haven’t missed anyone out as you are all important to us – a huge thank you from Team LimbBo and as with a lot of extended families we will see you again at Christmas hopefully!
Thank you so much for your feedback it really is appreciated x