On the 18th June 2018, I was Invited by Michael McGrath to attend the Muscle Help Foundation’s flagship Porsche Muscle Dream Programme. The role of a Muscle Ambassador for the Muscle Help Foundation is a big responsibility, but it also has some incredible perks.
For the 8th year running, 8 beneficiaries and their families had the ‘Muscle Dream’ experience at the luxurious Whittlebury Hall Hotel and the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. These beneficiaries were aged between 10-16 and were true petrolheads, harbouring dreams of speeding around Silverstone in a fast car & meeting their favourite driver Lewis Hamilton.
The Muscle Help Foundation had meticulously planned every single second of this amazing experience, taking the beneficiaries (‘Muscle Warrior’) and their families on a journey filled with surprises, scrumptious food, gifts & even factored in time to watch England win against Tunisia.
After refreshments in the Silverstone Bar, we were led to the Whittlebury courtyard were Michael McGrath revealed a Porsche and Aston Martin. The fascinating part of that reveal was initially watching the supercars driving up a ramp, through a corridor in the Whittlebury Hall Hotel and into the courtyard. It was difficult to prevent the bottom of the supercar scraping against the ramp but somehow, they managed it. I remarked tongue-in-cheek that “this reminds me of the access issues faced by disabled people when trying to enter inaccessible buildings.”
During lunch the beneficiaries’ nomination applications were shown, it illustrated to me how important the ‘Muscle Dream’ programme is in bringing hope and happiness to the prospective ‘Muscle Warriors’ and their families. Living with Muscular Dystrophy can make hope seem impossible especially to newly-diagnosed parents.
As a Muscle Ambassador, Michael McGrath introduced me and I was given the chance to speak during lunch. The aim of my speech was to share my life story to demonstrate that you can lead a happy, active and fulfilling life as an adult living with Duchenne. I spoke quite openly about how I’ve evolved through my failures, worries and the great opportunities I’ve had through charity work. I did end the speech with the cliché phrase, “I focus on my ability, not my disability” but in this case, it fits perfectly.
We all drove in convoy to the amazing Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone, we were then greeted by an awfully expensive car park filled with every type of Porsche that you can imagine. The ‘Muscle Warriors’ had time for pictures, interacting and building the excitement through the briefing. We learnt the important phrase for going faster which was “Light it up!” The beneficiaries just couldn’t wait to finally sit in a Porsche, they had an amazing time.
I was looking forward to experiencing a ‘Muscle Dream’ in action, it turned out that it was not just a transformative event for the beneficiaries or their families but also for me. The Muscle Help Foundation ‘Muscle Warrior’ volunteer team made the whole event special and a memorable day for everybody involved.
The chief volunteer coordinator Lydia Drukarz was amazing organising everything in the background and helping the 30 Volunteers each with different roles on the day. Each ‘Muscle Warrior’ and their family were allocated a dedicated Volunteer host throughout the day. The many volunteers included: Photographer Gary Luff, Drone Operators Dan and Jason Smith from Cinecloud, Presenter Sarah Lowther, Gemma McGrath and the rest of the great team. Special thanks to Mel Ridgers, who provided the Aston Martin displayed in the courtyard, but also arranged for the signed Lewis Hamilton photos, the limited-edition winner’s tee-shirts and those amazing mounted and personalised car parts!
My highlight of the whole event was when I received a hand-drawn picture at the end of the event from a lovely beneficiary called Mikey.