Over the years we have known some very special guests at Anfi, from musicians to Olympians, actors to politicians, but none quite so inspiring as a little girl called Vivi.
Vivi was born in July 2005, a beautiful happy baby girl and sister to Esme. Although at 8 months her parents noticed she wasn’t developing as expected, at 14 months Vivi was referred to a paediatrician who began monitoring her development more closely.
Aged 2½, Vivi underwent an MRI scan and a lumber puncture – the results were conclusive, Vivi was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and her distraught parents were told she would never walk.
Vivi’s condition affects all of her limbs although it is her legs which are most strongly affected, she walks with the aid of sticks, splints and a K-walker, as well as using a wheelchair on difficult or long days.
In 2012 Vivi’s condition deteriorated dramatically. Her parents began seeking specialised treatment with the Frenchay hospital in Bristol, where complex surgery and postoperative treatment could be offered to Vivi, which would hugely improve her quality of life.
Unfortunately Vivi’s local authority would not fund the treatment.
That’s when Vivi’s family stepped up and decided to launch Vivisventure a charity with the aim of raising the initial £50,000 needed to fund the surgery and the 3 years of intensive aftercare physio, orthotics, gait analysis, constant monitoring and follow up.
In total they want to raise £75,000 to ensure Viv’s continued treatment and quality of life.
The charity has been raising money in many ways including sponsored Zumba events, parachute jumps, cheese & wine tasting afternoons, to walking on hot coals!
We became aware of Vivisventure at Anfi when Vivi’s parents contacted us to sell their much-loved Anfi weeks in order to raise funds for the charity.
In addition to the sale of the weeks, the Anfi Group donated a 2-week holiday voucher to be used to raise money for the charity.
Vivi’s parents were delighted and swiftly auctioned off the Anfi weeks, although in a kind gesture, the winner then handed the weeks back to them, insisting they use the vouchers for themselves and enjoy a much needed family holiday.
I have been in contact with Vivi’s Mum Helen, who is torn between re-auctioning the vouchers again or, as the original anonymous winner insisted, using them for herself and the family.
Hopefully, Vivi’s family will allow themselves a much-needed break at Anfi this year. If anyone deserves a holiday, it is undoubtedly them.
So let’s keep our fingers crossed that little Vivi and her family will be joining us soon at Anfi!
For more information on Vivi, the Vivisventure charity and how you can donate, please click on this link.