Charity Registration number: 1075361
As we enter the new year, we are delighted to receive this wonderful update from our friends at Over The Wall. Due to their ambitious expansion plans, more children like Finley will be able to experience these Over The Wall camps and build their very own empowering memories.
At age 13, Finley was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. The impact of this discovery was huge. Having hidden the fact that he was ill from his family for some time, Finley eventually collapsed and was rushed into hospital. It was then that doctors diagnosed his illness.
“We had noticed that Finley had become much quieter, had unusual eating habits and wanted more privacy but we had put this down to simply being a teenager.” Explains Finley’s dad, Matt. “After his collapse, we realised how ill he really was, he had become very emaciated.”
Once diagnosed, various combinations of different medicines were trialled, all of which naturally led to Finley missing a huge amount of school. “He missed almost a year,” explains Matt, “Which inevitably had a huge effect on Finley.”
Eventually, getting the right combination of medicines meant he went into remission and now, at the age of 15, he has far more good days than bad. Although this was a very difficult year which impacted Finley in every way. It affected his schooling, confidence and friendships. At the time he was a very keen rugby player for his local team and had also been selected and played for the Essex/Saracens team. He unfortunately was forced to stop playing rugby, everything seemed to fall apart for him within the space of a year.
When Finley’s parents met a nurse at the hospital, she understood exactly what the family were all going through and immediately suggested that they apply for an Over The Wall Camp.
“If i’m honest, I wasn’t too keen on going at first.” says Matt, “I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. It was a complete eye-opener for me. I came back absolutely thrilled that we had gone. I realised how important it was for our family to be together and spend time bonding. We overcame challenges together and shared such valuable times.”
“Family camp reassured Finley that as a family, we are in it together and there to support each other. It was also great to be a complete family. Siblings often get left out when one child is ill, but at family camp, Finley’s brother and sister gained an understanding of why time is often spent with Finley. There was a strong bond developed and a discovery between us that we are all in it together, no one is left out, we are all included.”
Here at the Kentown Wizard Foundation we are always extremely grateful to receive updates like these from our partners and we look forward to posting many more throughout this journey.