Lucky Louis Gorman from Camden, north London, (pictured left together with his 16-year-old sister Bessie, mum, Emma and dad, Neil), was able to achieve a lifelong ambition of flying in a helicopter last week.
The experience was organised by family charity, the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), with support from Sloane Helicopters based at Sywell Aerodrome and Air Ambulance (Warwickshire & Northamptonshire).
Louis has FSH (Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy) and is also deaf. Despite also having learning difficulties, he lives a full life, goes to college and is very knowledgeable about helicopters, planes and airports!
MHF delivers life-changing, personalised experiences, known as ‘Muscle Dreams’, to children and young people from age 8 to 28 with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. Its CEO, Michael McGrath, was himself diagnosed with MD at the age of 18.
Tracy Grunwell, Major Giving Manager at Air Ambulance and a friend of MHF, put the charity in touch with Jeremy Awenat, MD at Sloane Helicopters at Sywell Aerodrome in Northampton. They helped to arrange not only to take Louis and his whole family up for a short flight in their prestigious AgustaWestland AW109, a twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter, but each member of the family was also able to take the controls and ‘fly’ Sloane Helicopters’ very own static simulator, normally used for trainee helicopter pilots.
The charity also arranged for the whole Gorman family to stay the night before at the art deco Aviator Hotel at Sywell Aerodrome.
After MHF’s celebratory ‘Muscle Warrior’ dinner, the family were up early the next morning to head over to Sloane Helicopters’ base at the Aerodrome.
They were warmly welcomed by Jeremy and his team, before heading off to the simulator, followed by the actual helicopter flight itself, piloted by Gary Spender.
With the family’s faces wreathed in smiles, Louis was then presented with a host of goodies, including a miniature helicopter, to take home as souvenirs of his wonderful helicopter ‘Muscle Dream’ experience.
MHF’s CEO Michael McGrath, said: “It was such a joy to be part of Louis’ ‘Muscle Dream’ and to help him realise his ambition to go up in a helicopter. Our team loved getting to know him and his whole family and we were all very impressed with his aviation knowledge! I’d like to say a very special thank you to Jeremy Awenat and his team at Sloane Helicopters, and also to Richard Clayton, Operations Director for the Air Ambulance Service, who came along to meet Louis and his family. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so much for taking the time to make our 241st ‘Muscle Dream’ a reality. I think it was the best Christmas present not just for Louis but also his beautiful family who dedicate their lives to Louis. I can confidently say that Louis and his family are now fully-fledged ‘Muscle Warriors’!”
For more info or a comment from Michael McGrath, contact Lydia Drukarz at Wavelength PR on: 07977 454180 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org