George Roberts contracted meningitis when he was only three weeks old, and as a result of that illness developed cerebral palsy, confining him to a wheelchair. Now he is a well-loved busy 19-year old with a dream: to swim with dolphins.
Roberts lives in London’s East End and attends college five days a week where he receives treatment in language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and life skills. Most weekends George spends with his mother, Eileen, at St. Stephen’s Road in Old Ford. Once-a-year Roberts travels to the world famous Peto Institute in Budapest which teachers children and teens with cerebral palsy to lead more independent lives.
One of Roberts’ neighbors, Emma Price, recently launched a campaign to raise approximately £3,200 to send him on a special holiday to Disneyworld in Florida where he will be able to relax, have some fun, and maybe even get to swim with dolphins.
The main fund-raising event was a benefit held a Stepney’s Dean Swift pub, but many donations already came in from kindly neighbors and even strangers.
When electrician Andrew Harris was doing some electrical work in the bakery where Emma works he donated £300 as soon as he heard about Roberts’ dream to go to Florida.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Emma added. “It was a bit of a shock.”
When the Apple travel agency in Bethnal Green’s Roman Road hung a notice about Emma’s fundraising campaign several people just walked in off the street to support the efforts.
“Travel agent proprietor Jane Wright said: “People keep coming in off the street with donations.
“A woman handed her debit card and said I should take £25, then saw George’s picture and added, ‘make it £30’.
“A pensioner popped in who didn’t have much, just £1.22, but insisted on giving it towards George’s trip.”
Apple Travel already booked the trip for next summer, even though the fundraising hadn’t yet begun. Now they already have more than half the money they need.