Wisbech family is overwhelmed by community's support of international awareness day
A Fenland family's "hearts couldn't be fuller" after their home town pulled out all the stops to help raise awareness of a rare genetic illness.
Wisbech Mayor Andrew Lynn led the way in helping to mark International Batten Disease Awareness Day on Wednesday (9) by visiting local businesses, which had joined in by going orange, and also kept count as fellow town councillor Sidney Imafidon completed 50 cartwheels in the town's park.
Inspiration for businesses and buildings to turn orange for the day was the Dodkin family, who have two of their three boys diagnosed with Batten Disease, a rare degenerative neurological, life limiting disease.
Finley, 10 and five-year-old Harrison both have the disease, while their brother Arthur, eight, is thankfully unaffected.
Their proud parents Sarah and Ben Dodkin are determined to do everything they can to make special memories for their sons and have set up a fundraising effort to help pay for exciting experiences chosen by the boys. Half the money raised will be spent on the boys while the other half will go to the Batten's Disease Family Association's sibling project.
Sarah wrote to Wisbech Town Council earlier in the year to ask if Wisbech Castle could be lit up in orange on June 9 to mark the international awareness day and from there more businesses got involved and Sidney agreed to light up his historic Ely House too.
He also decided to complete 50 cartwheels in Wisbech Park, the same as his age, to help raise money for the boys.
Among the businesses that turned orange was the Royal Blue Meat Company on Market Place, not only did they have orange balloons festooning the front of their premises they also coated kebabs, burgers and chicken in orange.
Woodward's Confection also joined in a provided some sweet treats for the boys, while it was a case of orange wear for staff at Goddards on the Town Bridge.
The Castle was lit in orange and the Dodkin family had a tour of the gardens as they completed a trip to see all that the community had done to mark the day.
Other buildings lit up in orange included the Angles Theatre in Alexandra Road, A J Coggles Funeral Directors, and private houses including many in The Crescent over looking the Castle, while local MP wore an orange tie while he carried out his parliamentary duties.
Neighbours of the Dodkins decorated their homes as did family members, and even the Corn Exchange and Town in King's Lynn joined in the fun.
Pupils at Meadowgate Academy and Peckover School dressed in orange for the day and when the family finally made it home after all the visiting they found their own house had been lit up in orange thanks to friends.
Posting on Facebook Sarah said: "Throughout the day we have just loved seeing you all dressed in orange and sharing your pictures and spreading awareness of The BDFA and Batten Disease it means everything. Our hearts couldn’t be fuller. Wisbech, friends, colleagues and family we couldn’t love you more."
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