Muscle Help Foundation selected as one of two charities supported by Ambition 2018

Multi award-winning family charity, the Muscle Help Foundation is delighted to announce that it has been selected as one of two beneficiary charities for this year's Ambition 2018.

Ambition 2018 is an annual one-day sales and marketing conference held this year on 14 November 2018 at The Spotlight conference venue in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

Some of the UK’s leading experts in sales and marketing will be attending what will be a packed agenda with several high-quality speakers.

MHF’s CEO, Michael McGrath said:

“We are delighted to have been chosen as one of the two charities being supported by Ambition 2018. We look forward to working with the team who are running and sponsoring the event, especially Cariad Marketing a long-term friend and supporter of our charity.

I’m looking forward to engaging hearts and minds by saying a few words at the conference in sharing a little more about our work, impact and our #powerof657 initiative!

One transformational experience costs around £1,500 to deliver, so we’re planning on doing our bit in helping Ambition 2018 be a sell-out event! Ultimately, this will enable the charity to move a little closer to its goal of delivering 657 Muscle Dream experiences, that’s one for every muscle in the human body!

If you haven’t already, now’s the time to flex your financial muscle and buy your Ambition 2018 tickets. I look forward to saying hello to many of the delegates on the big day.

Ambition 2018 is a community event, sponsored and organised by local businesses for local businesses, providing an opportunity to network with fellow professionals from Broxbourne and the surrounding areas. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the two beneficiary charities.

MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, known as Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-29yrs) with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions.

Click HERE to learn more about Ambition 2018.

Click HERE to learn more about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter
http://twitter.com/WavelengthPR

BCD Meetings & Events adopts Muscle Help Foundation as one of its official charities for 2018

The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) is thrilled to announce that it has been adopted as one of the official charities being supported in 2018 by BCD Meetings & Events (BCD M&E), Europe’s leading meetings and events agency.

MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, known as Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-28yrs) with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions.

Driven by Fay Sharpe’s enthusiasm and support, the charity has been close to the heart of employees throughout the business and many of the staff have been volunteering on MHF’s annual signature Porsche Driving Experience and Flying Muscle Dream Programmes as well as the occasional VIP experience with some of MHF’s past Charity Partners that have included Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team – these employees have not only directly witnessed the charity’s impact but also the experience has enriched and broadened their horizons, with many returning to support MHF on a voluntary basis, year after year.

Pictured above: Fay Sharpe (centre) with Muscle Dream beneficiaries & family members, plus representatives from the charity, specially invited guests and members of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team who hosted a VIP experience at their Brackley factory

Whilst the events sector is constantly changing and evolving, the opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of children and young people with MD has not gone unnoticed:

Fay Sharpe (pictured below), Vice President of BCD Meetings & Events commented:

“In our business, we relentlessly strive to create human experiences that are memorable; at the heart of The Muscle Help Foundation, I’ve seen and witnessed how this small family charity also strives in the pursuit of creating memorable experiences that are both unique and life-changing – there’s a natural alignment between our respective organisations. I’m proud in the knowledge that we can make a real difference where it matters, and I look forward to continuing to support their work.”

As part of its support in 2018, Team BCD M&E will be participating in this year’s Superhero Tri Challenge on 18th August at Dorney Lake, Windsor. MHF is actively recruiting to fill 8 FREE Team places (4 people per team, one of whom must have a disability) for this inclusive, all-day fun event – 5 team places have already been taken!

In return for their FREE entry, Team BCD M&E have committed to raise the minimum amount of £657.00 in sponsorship in support of the charity’s #powerof657 initiative. Despite extremely limited resources, MHF’s overarching goal is to deliver 657 Muscle Dream experiences, one for every muscle in the human body; to date 267 have been delivered, leaving a further 390 to go – if you can help the charity in any way, please get in touch.

MHF’s Founder & CEO Michael McGrath said:

“We are delighted to be formally recognised as one of the charities officially adopted by BCD M&E during 2018. We look forward to working closely with the team on a number of fundraising events throughout the year and of course, I’m especially delighted that Team BCD M&E will be taking part in August’s Superhero Tri Challenge because they’ll be up against Team McGrath – I say, bring it on as there’s nothing quite like a little competitive spirit!”

Businesses interested in joining Team BCD M&E and supporting MHF can register their interest and find out more info by pinging an email to: hello657@musclehelp.com

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter
http://twitter.com/WavelengthPR

New Muscle Ambassador Vivek Gohil Shares Powerful Insights About His Life, His Hopes and His Dreams

Understanding the meaning of life has always been a passion of mine. Life is filled with experiences that form who you are today and continue to shape you in the future. Meeting Michael McGrath at the London 2012 Games Inspired Muscle Dreams programme was a defining moment, altering my perception of disability ~ no longer was it a barrier to legendary status. I realised that life is under my control ~ I just needed to fill it with meaning.

I was already born with a rare hereditary bleeding condition called Haemophilia A, who would think that I’d develop another hereditary condition? I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at age 8 after a tough 5-year misdiagnosis. The prognosis of DMD was grim and life-changing.

The misdiagnosis was a confusing blur jeopardizing my primary education, as I constantly moved schools to accommodate my uncertain needs. My scoliosis corrective surgery interrupted my secondary education, it left me bed-bound for a year, as my NHS wheelchair was completely unsuitable for my needs. This isolation period was a pivotal turning point in my life, it was the foundation of who I am today.

My escape was to immerse myself into the world of comic books, funnily enough I read every comic book in 3 local libraries. Looking back, I realize the impact comics had in shaping my personality and beliefs, they taught me about willpower, strength, courage, to question everything and to never give up. The most important lesson was to make my own path through life and not to follow the ‘normal’ pathways decided for us.

I enjoyed maturing and developing into a confident adult at college. The positive feedback from teachers regarding my academic potential made me realise that physical disability doesn’t need to define me. I always wanted to experience university life, I did so at DeMontfort University (Leicester) where I studied Psychology. I had to leave halfway through my course due to ill health and care package issues. It was a difficult choice as I felt a failure and was concerned about isolation.

As it happened, I’ve never regretted that decision as I now had time to focus on what was significant to me: charity work.

Attending the 2012 Games Inspired Muscle Dreams event was positively life-changing. Being surrounded by such pure altruism, love and joy has never left me to this day. Interacting with Michael McGrath and experiencing his enthusiasm helping others with Muscular Dystrophy motivated me to discard my own restrictive internal ableism.

I wanted an avenue to express my thoughts and create a meaningful footprint in life. So, I started my blog Uncanny Vivek – I was stunned by how my life resonated with readers and the amount of wonderful opportunities I’ve had. Like the privilege to become a Muscle Warrior Ambassador and join such a wonderful team.

The future isn’t made of anything tangible – it’s created on hopes, dreams and memories. The Muscle Help Foundation continues to do just that.

Click HERE to learn more about our Ambassadors.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com

Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter
http://twitter.com/WavelengthPR

Muscle Ambassador Leah Booth Shares Her Story Including Insights About Her Life

Experiences come in all shapes and sizes, some are positive, some are negative, some are small and seemingly insignificant and some have the ability to shape you, change you and alter your future. I have gone through them all.

When I was younger, up until the age of 14, my experiences were pretty standard for someone my age. It was all about making friends, learning your times tables and trying to navigate the minefield that is ‘High School’ but as I got older, and my disability became more of a factor, my experiences began to change. At age 14 I discovered I needed surgery to correct Scoliosis, curvature of the spine. I was suddenly facing something I was completely unprepared for: it was a blur of test, appointments and medication leading up to an 11-hour surgery. I had to grow up practically overnight.

From that moment on I was an adult, which in some ways was fantastic because I felt so mature and in control of my life but at the same time I found it difficult to interact with people my own age. During this time, whilst on bed rest, I watched a lot of crime programmes on television and read dozens of books: which eventually led me to university and getting my degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

At the time, I didn’t realise that an experience as insignificant as watching Law & Order had set my life on a path I never thought it would take. And for a time, I was very happy working within the Criminal Justice System, volunteering with Hate Crime charities and my local police force, until new experiences carved out a different path for me.

After a breakdown in my care package meant I had to leave my work, I became angry and confused, and I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. That was until my Muscle Help Foundation ‘Earn Your Wings’ flying experience catapulted my life into a new direction and gave me a new vision of a brighter future. Simply taking part in the experience, learning new skills, developing my confidence, allowed me to realise all my experiences in life meant I had a story to tell and a dream worth exploring.

I wanted to find a way to express myself and be able to share with others what life was like with a complex need – so I created my blog “Should have been a mermaid” and from there I was asked to go to events and do talks. I became a public speaker, sharing my experiences across the UK. And now I’m honoured to be a Muscle Warrior Ambassador for the very charity that helped shape my future.

Suddenly I realised my experiences: big, small, positive and negative had led me to this point in my life. Do I wish some of the experiences had been different? Yes. Do I wish I could do some of them over again? Absolutely. But that’s not how life works – without these experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today – happy.

ambassador-logo

Click HERE to learn more about our Ambassadors.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Leah Booth
Muscle Ambassador

Muscle Ambassador Sulaiman Khan Shares His Story And Passion For The Creative Industries

In 2012, three days after my grandfather died, I went to the charity’s flagship Games Inspired Muscle Dreams event. During a period of deep grief, to be surrounded by people filled with so much passion, enthusiasm and care for people with Muscular Dystrophy, I felt the love. I haven’t looked back.

When I was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a baby, the doctors told my parents I was unlikely to live past the age of five. Over the years, this gloomy prognosis increased bit by bit. At the time of writing this, I’m 32.

Aside from the shadow of this hanging over my head, I didn’t learn to read and write until I was ten. The school I went to catered to a broad church of disability, but unfortunately too broad for me to learn the basics as someone with an exclusively physical disability, rather than mental. I was lucky enough to travel around the world with my parents – all experiences that I suspect helped shape my current attitude towards life: go for it!

With a gargantuan effort, and with support from my family, friends and carers, I graduated in 2012 with a degree in Advertising and Brand Communication. This was another bright spot in life – especially as I had no functioning wheelchair during much of my final year of the degree! Less of a bright spot was three years spent looking for work in the advertising and creative industries. For the most part, I found this already challenging industry to crack into was rife with even more challenges for someone with a disability. The struggle to find work and acceptance as someone who wanted to work and contribute to society, despite a severe disability, left me feeling lacking in confidence and deflated. I did find a job, but the barriers were still there and I found myself out of work again after eight months. This left me re-evaluating everything as I found my usually unfaltering enthusiasm was fairly dented by this point.

I’d previously experimented with ideas around creativity and disability on and off for some time – they were after all, two of the biggest factors in my life. So, in 2012, after losing my last grandparent, I found myself surrounded by people who had been through their own adversities and were there and present very much going for it. Not to mention the Paralympians that the world had just seen seemed to leave everyone (including me) feeling energised about how much those with disabilities have to offer. It was all exactly what I needed to re-find my fearlessness and start getting out of my comfort zone again.

I decided to embrace my passion for the creative industries but not wait for these industries to let me in. Basically, I’ve got a sledgehammer and I’m bashing my way through. My focus is now to find and match great disabled talent with creative institutions and agencies.

Being around, and working with, the lovely people at the Muscle Help Foundation taught me that it’s okay not to do things the traditional way, to find my own path and to be comfortable with what I’m doing and who I am. They’ve helped me see that scary predictions can be wrong, and even if they’re not wrong, there’s a way to make an impact and help others along life’s adventures. The future is as bright as I want it to be, and we all have the right and ability to be bold, wild, and fearless along the way.

ambassador-logo

Click HERE to learn more about our Ambassadors.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Sulaiman Khan
Muscle Ambassador

Charity Announces Exciting New Ambassador Programme To Help Champion Its Cause

Multi award-winning family charity, the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) has announced the launch of its new Ambassador programme to help champion its cause.

The charity is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new Ambassadors – Leah Booth (pictured above, from Blackburn, Lancashire who has spinal muscular atrophy type 2 or SMA2) and Sulaiman Khan (pictured above, from Woodford Green, East London, who has merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy or MD-CMD).

At the helm of MHF’s Ambassador strategy is a plan to further establish its growing nationwide Muscle Warrior tribal community that offers support but also gives past beneficiaries and their families the opportunity to more fully engage with its STRONGER TOGETHER ethos. Its members will have more of a voice in not only sharing their Muscle Dream experiences but also championing the cause by raising awareness and funds in helping MHF meet its goals.

Alongside the charity’s main Facebook page, MHF has created a closed Facebook group for the new Ambassadors to generate conversations, share their experiences and bring their considerable energy, insight and passion to the charity’s future fundraising activities.

As part of their duties, Leah and Sulaiman will take over some of MHF’s social media streams, communicating directly with the public and others who may be interested in learning about the charity’s work and impact. They will share their stories, inspiring others to follow and support as well as bring their unique blend of fun and humour.

Leah Booth said:

“Experiences come in all shapes and sizes. Some are positive, some are negative, some are small and seemingly insignificant and some have the ability to shape you and alter your future. I have been through them all. My Muscle Help Foundation #EarnYourWings Flying Muscle Dream experience back in September 2015 catapulted my life into a new direction and gave me a new vision of a brighter future.

Simply taking part in that experience, learning new skills and developing my confidence allowed me to realise that all my experiences in life meant I had a story to tell and a dream worth exploring. Now I am honoured to be a Muscle Ambassador for the very charity that helped shape my future to where it is today – at a time in my life when I was lost, this small charity gave me the ability to dream again.”

Sulaiman Khan commented:

“It’s a huge honour to be a Muscle Ambassador for the Muscle Help Foundation. I am genuinely excited to give back to this amazing family run charity and support those with Muscular Dystrophy.

This role is hugely important to me because I want to help children and young people find their shining light to do awesome things in their lives. I’m looking forward to working with the charity to inspire hearts and change minds, and to help continue to grow the wonderful tribe known as Muscle Warriors across the UK. Onwards and upwards!”

MHF delivers highly-personalised, transformational experiences in the UK called Muscle Dreams for children and young people with the muscle wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions; the charity’s goal is to deliver 657 Muscle Dreams, that’s one for every muscle in the body. As of October 2017, 264 have been delivered.

The charity has a loyal following of beneficiaries, families, carers, volunteers, corporate partners and supporters, whom MHF affectionately call Muscle Warriors.

MHF’s CEO, Michael McGrath commented:

“I am delighted to welcome Leah and Sulaiman on board as Ambassadors in representing our small family charity. They’ve both been past Muscle Dream beneficiaries and by default, great MHF advocates and friends. We’re already supporting them as they begin this new journey that will see them not only champion our work, but also attract vital new fans, followers and supporters to our growing tribe of Muscle Warriors across the UK.

There’s a strong alignment of values that both Leah and Sulaiman have with the charity – these key appointments will support our aim to not only grow our community and reach new families but also directly support new beneficiaries as their Muscle Dreams unfold.

It’s my belief that in this changing world, the power of their voices gives even greater causal credibility than some celebrities where the value of endorsements are increasingly being questioned – a view underpinned by research consultancy NfpSynergy who found that only one in five young people aged between 11 to 25yrs (across mainland Britain) said they would support a charity because a celebrity happened to endorse it. It’s interesting to note that the research found that ‘causal enthusiasm’ diminishes with age – with this forefront of mind, harnessing the talents, skills and endorsement of Leah and Sulaiman to positively influence other potential future Ambassadors is extremely valuable. Being an Ambassador also gives them a great development platform – they know that they ‘own’ the opportunity and the ‘responsibility’ that the role brings. They also know that they are very much at the heart of its ongoing evolution and future success.

Put simply, they get what we do because they’ve both directly experienced the transformational nature of our work – they want to help, they want to influence and I know they can educate, inform and inspire loyalty because I’ve already witnessed their passion and their ability to engage – I’m so incredibly proud to have such awesome, authentic Ambassadors on our team!”

Click HERE to learn more about our Ambassadors.

Click HERE to see our Muscletastic fundraising pack.

Click HERE to learn about the charity’s #powerof657 campaign.

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com
Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

2017 PA Life Summit delegates deliver fantastic Muscle Warrior salute at glitzy Gala Dinner for official charity partner

The 2017 PA Life Summit recently took place on 24-25 April at the De Vere Wokefield Estate – The Muscle Help Foundation was named as its official charity partner with the aim to raise vital funds and awareness of its work. The PA Life Summit has been inspiring PAs and EAs from around the country for 10 years, making this year’s event a celebratory one.

Our Chief Muscle Warrior and CEO, Michael McGrath spoke briefly about the impact of the charity to an audience of some 180 guests at the glamorous Gala Dinner held in the magnificent Mansion House set within 250 acres of Royal Berkshire’s finest parkland.

Guests were invited by Michael (pictured above) to give their best Muscle Warrior salute before the start of dinner, a visible symbol of hope, courage, strength and unity for all those with muscular dystrophy across the country.

The PA Life Summit is a ‘must-attend’ annual event designed for Senior & Board-Level PAs and EAs who want to find solution providers and discover innovative opportunities to help respond to the daily challenges of their professional lives.

Some of the tweets following the event have been captured below:

“Proud to have donated to The Muscle Help Foundation during the PA Life Summit Gala Dinner & to hear from Michael McGrath”

SOURCE: Lindsay Taylor, award winning author, Global PA Trainer, Coach & passionate about raising the PA profile

“What an amazing charity The Muscle Help Foundation is #inspirational #powerof657 #MuscleWarriors. Michael’s speech at the PA Life Summit Dinner on Monday evening had me in tears – so inspirational”

SOURCE: Elizabeth Lee, PA at Northern Powergrid

“This is the powerful face of the #powerof657 – what an inspiration, as well as those going through it. I’m so proud to support The Muscle Help Foundation”

SOURCE: Marissa Irons, Ass’t to CFO, General Counsel & Managing Director at Round Hill Capital

“Such an inspiring speech”

SOURCE: Stephanie Wybourn, EA at the British Hospitality Association

On the following day, delegates also had the opportunity to not only hear about Michael’s life-story first hand during a pre-booked inspirational ‘seminar’ session but also to learn and take-away some top tips.

In his .45minute interactive ‘Ice, Slice & Adrenalin’ presentation, Michael spoke about the role of PE’s ‘Professional Enablers’ and his 7-point plan around ‘PA Life Resilience’ in looking at the skills that can be developed and strengthened to help PAs and EAs thrive under challenging conditions, especially in times of change and uncertainty.

Michael’s ‘Best Ever Boss’ interactive task struck a chord with many of the attendees in addition to the opportunity for those present to flex their PA networking abilities in engaging with MHF’s unique high-energy ‘Six-Degrees- of-Separation’ Muscle Dream speed thinking challenge designed to potentially open a door for the charity in reaching for example sporting personalities, famous chefs or movie stars.

PA Life’s online ‘in-depth’ article here profiled Michael and The Muscle Help Foundation in the build up to the event. PA Life said:

“His ability to engage emotionally and intellectually with audiences from business and education will inspire, motivate and transform the way people think and act.

Recent clients include Roche Pharmaceuticals, HMRC and the UK’s leading professional body for executive and personal assistants, the EPAA (Executive Personal Assistants Association, where he delivered the keynote address at their first ever conference dedicated to EAs, PAs and secretaries across the UK banking and financial sector hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland”.

About PA Life

PA Life is the leading media outlet dedicated to PAs and EAs – discussing professional development, expert advice and how to improve core business skills as well as showcasing high profile interviews with established PAs sharing their tips for success.

Website: http://palife.co.uk
Twitter: @PALifeMag
Facebook: www.facebook.com/palifemagazine
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4187898

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com
Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Benjamin’s love of animals becomes a reality at Paradise Wildlife Park

With an enormous love of animals, 21 yr-old Benjamin Hafeez (pictured below) who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) realised his Muscle Dream on Wednesday 5th April 2017.

“The charity gave me my Muscle Dream day! It meant everything to me and my family. It was special, it made me feel involved and part of the world like everyone else.”
SOURCE: Benjamin Hafeez

Accompanied by his mum (Danielle) and his dad (Abbey), the family from Gerrards Cross (Bucks) were warmly welcomed at Paradise Wildlife Park, a family-run animal park located in Broxbourne (Herts) whilst Fanhams Hall provided the perfect venue for a VIP family afternoon tea.

Credit: 2017 Gary Perlmutter Photography

The Muscle Help Foundation delivers transformational experiences called Muscle Dreams for children and young people across the UK with Muscular Dystrophy and allied neuromuscular conditions.

In Benjamin’s nomination submitted online by his mum, Danielle was keen to ensure that the element of surprise was maintained throughout the communication process. In addition, it was clear that Benjamin’s natural ability and sensitivity around his love of animals was very much at the forefront of her nomination. The family have two cats at home that Benjamin loves dearly – their feline sixth sense recognise that Benjamin is a little different.

Benjamin’s mum Danielle heard about the charity via their family care advisor at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. She said:

“As his parents we know that Benjamin would never ask anyone for such an experience. We just want to ask on his behalf but without him knowing as we want to surprise him and for him to be happy.”

Benjamin and his family enjoyed their own exclusive tour at Paradise Wildlife Park, meeting and handling a variety of animals. In addition, some very special arrangements were put in place so that Benjamin and his family could all get-up- close to feed a stunning snow leopard.

The day eneded with a delicious afternoon tea at Fanhams Hall Hotel, a spectacular Grade II Jacobean mansion house, where the chefs created a truly splendid selection of pastries, mini-cakes and scrummy sandwiches.

Credit: 2017 Gary Perlmutter Photography

Credit: 2017 Gary Perlmutter Photography

In a written note received by the charity, Danielle Hafeez (Benjamin’s mum) said:

“Benjamin had such an amazing day at Paradise Wildlife Park. Everytime I look at the photographs and see the smile on his face with the animals, it melts my heart!

We were thoroughly spolit at Fanhams Hall Hotel. Spending such an amazing day with you all and especially Sue and Michael was a day we will never forget.

I can’t ever forget what an effort Michael went to, to make us feel relaxed, listened to, happy and very positive. He is a truly inspiratinal man and I would love to do some fundraising to help make more Muscle Dreams happen and to help raise awareness of Muscle Warriors in our area. We will be wearing our t-shirts with pride and will be telling our friends, family and colleagues all about the charity.”

Click HERE to check out Benjamin’s dedicated Flickr photographic album collated by one of the charity’s volunteer photographers Gary Perlmutter. NOTE: you are welcome to view, share and download any photographs from this Flickr album.

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com
Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Datchworth WI invites CEO Michael McGrath to give talk to help celebrate 90th anniversary

Tuesday 11th April 2017 saw the Datchworth Women’s Institute celebrate its 90th birthday. To mark this special occasion, one of Britain’s most influential disabled people, motivational speaker and The Muscle Help Foundation’s very own CEO, Michael McGrath (pictured below), was invited back in November 2016 to be the guest speaker.

Datchworth WI President, Anne Charles, welcomed everyone and introduced Michael, who began his ‘Ice, Slice and Adrenalin’ talk, by sharing insights about his early life and how, at 18yrs, things dramtatically changed when he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy (MD).

Credit: 2017 William Ferguson Photography

Other Women’s Institutes from neighbouring areas across Hertfordshire joined the sell-out event reported on here by the Welwyn Hatfield Times (covering Hatfield and the surrounding villages including Welwyn, Codicote, Knebworth, Brookmans Park and Welham Green).

Michael spoke openly about his early years at school, his love of sport and especially golf, making reference to Sergio García’s joyous moment following his win at the Masters at Augusta National. In addition, he spoke about to his working life to date that included a figurehead role working closely with Hilton Hotels UK & Ireland as their disABILITY Champion. Sharing his own highly emotional moments in reaching the North and South Poles that inspired the creation of The Muscle Help Foundation, Michael ended his talk with some uplifting film clips of young Muscle Warrior beneficiaries receiving their Muscle Dream experiences.

Credit: 2017 William Ferguson Photography

Following a lively Q&A, guests were invited by Michael to give their best Muscle Warrior salute, a visible symbol of hope, courage, strength and unity for all those with MD across the country. In that single moment, the packed village hall in Datchworth was filled with 160 beaming smiles and 160 brilliant salutes captured on stage by Hertford-based William Ferguson Photography.

The vote of thanks was given by Jill Profit, Chairman Hertfordshire Federation WI, and the evening came to a close in the time-honoured Women’s Institute way with tea and an enormous array of delicious cakes and savouries! During refreshments, a crowd gathered around Michael and he was inundated with requests for further talks to other Women’s Institute groups.

Datchworth WI President, Anne Charles, said:

“Michael’s credo in life (adopted from his old school alma mater) means ‘As Much As I Can’ is truly an inspiration for us all. We’d like to thank him for making our celebration evening very special, helping us to look outwards in life with courage, imagination and love of others. We were very grateful that Michael and his wife, Sue, did not rush away but gave their time to talk to so many people afterwards.

Since the event, we have received so many appreciative comments about Michael’s positive attitude to life despite his disability, looking outwards to helping others, loving life and giving inspiration to us all to do the same in our lives. Everyone at Datchworth WI wishes Michael every success as he and his team work towards their 657 Muscle Dream target.”

ABOUT THE WOMEN’S INSTITUTE

Formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities, the WI was set up to encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. Celebrating their centenary in 2015, the WI is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. There are almost 220,000 members in approx 6,300 WI’s groups. The WI provides women with educational opportunities, the chance to build new skills and the opportunity to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities across the UK.

Contact:
Lydia Drukarz, Director
Wavelength Public Relations
M. 07977 454180
E. lydia@wavelengthpr.com
Follow Wavelength PR on Twitter

Upbeat Drinks join forces to put muscle health on national agenda with #657challenge

Family charity the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) and family-owned protein drinks brand Upbeat are delighted to announce a new 3-year partnership to increase the awareness of muscle health. In coming together, they aim to promote the importance of looking after all 657 muscles and to deliver transformational experiences to those whose muscles are broken through muscular dystrophy. Because every muscle matters.

MHF delivers life-changing, personalised experiences, known as ‘Muscle Dreams’, to children and young people (aged 8 to 28) with muscular dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. CEO, founder and inspirational speaker, Michael McGrath, who was diagnosed with MD at the age of 18, is the first disabled person to have reached both the North and South Poles.

To mark the partnership, Upbeat is launching the #657challenge to encourage the nation to look after each and every one of their 657 muscles and in so doing, raise money for the charity. The two brands are hoping the challenge will go viral, in the same way as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge did in the summer of 2015!

 

HOW TO TAKE THE #657challenge
And support those with Muscular Dystrophy

√ Get all your muscles moving

√ Help generate awareness of muscle health

√ Raise money for our charity

The challenge itself is quick and easy; it can be done anywhere, anytime. Simply drop from a standing position into a sitting position and back up again, all the time balancing a full cup of water on your head – the less water you spill, the more impressive! It’s a full-body test of mobility, strength, balance and co-ordination and is designed to get all your muscles moving and hopefully provide a few laughs at the same time!

 

STEP 1

Fill a plastic cup with water and place on your head with both hands

STEP 2

From standing, hold the cup in place on your head with both hands

STEP 3

Bend your legs to lower yourself to the ground until you’re sitting fully cross-legged on the floor – bottom must be in contact with the ground!

STEP 4

From sitting, lift yourself back up from the floor, without removing the cup from your head – this is where there could be some water spillage!

If you haven’t lost a drop, that means you have excellent mobility and muscle strength. If you now have a wet head, don’t worry, practice makes perfect and it’s a good daily drill to keep all your muscles moving!

 

HOW TO CHALLENGE YOUR FRIENDS

Now you know how to do it, here’s how to challenge your friends and raise awareness for our cause.

STEP 1

Take the #657challenge and make sure someone is filming you

STEP 2

Upload the clip to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page – or all three!

STEP 3

In your accompanying text, tag three of your friends and include the hashtag #657challenge

 

NOW NOMINATE & DONATE

For example:

I nominate XXX, XXX and XXX to take the #657challenge in support of the Muscle Help Foundation. To donate, text MUSC13 with the amount of £5 to 70070.

Both brands will be approaching as many of their celebrity contacts, patrons, ambassadors and friends to take part in the #657challenge. Guaranteed to be lots of fun, it’s also hoped that more awareness will be raised about the important work and impact of the charity.

 

Michael McGrath, MHF’s CEO said:

“Over the past few months, we have had a chance to get to know Mark and the team at Upbeat. There’s a clear alignment of values and we’re very excited about this new collaboration. The charity’s focus is on providing life-changing experiences for those whose muscles are broken and don’t work and for whom doing the #657challenge would be nigh on impossible, whilst Upbeat wants to encourage the nation to keep their muscles healthy, so there’s a natural synergy between our two organisations.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Upbeat over the next 3 years and we love the idea of the #657challenge. We’re hopeful that the fundraising mechanism will help the charity move closer to its goal of delivering 657 ‘Muscle Dreams’, that’s one for every muscle in the human body. In the same way that the Ice Bucket Challenge brought worldwide awareness of ALS, we want the #657challenge to bring attention to Muscular Dystrophy and by default, our cause. Bring on the next 3 years!”

 

Mark Neville, Managing Director of Upbeat said:

“Meeting Michael and experiencing first-hand the direct impact that he and The Muscle Help Foundation make on the lives of others is truly inspirational. To have found a charity local to Upbeat in Hertfordshire with a similar mission (the importance of muscle), but from two different worlds has been a serendipitous journey.

Using the MHF’s #powerof657 campaign message, we can help spread awareness of the importance of muscle health, and how many of us take it for granted, then we can finally get the British public talking about this crucial health indicator. We cannot wait for the #657challenge to become a success and for the nation to not only realise just how much every muscle matters but also help this small charity change more lives.”

 

For a comment from Michael McGrath:
Please contact Lydia Drukarz at Wavelength PR on:
M: 07977 454180
E: lydia@wavelengthpr.com

For a comment from Mark Neville:
Please contact Alex Moss at Dirt and Glory Media on:
M: 07977 133705
E: alex.moss@dirtandglorymedia.com

 

ABOUT UPBEAT

At Upbeat, we want to inspire everyone to make positive changes in their lives and the lives of others, powered by great nutrition and a fun-filled active lifestyle. We believe that starts with healthy muscles. It was our grandfather Dick that started our journey with his determination to extract every bit of goodness from British milk. As a family, we carry on his legacy of putting the natural, great tasting, muscle-feeding goodness of whey within anyone’s reach. Upbeat is a smooth blend of whey and fruit, made with just the right amount of whey protein from British milk. Upbeat is all-day body fuel, giving active bodies the high-quality protein they need at any time of day, fuelling healthy muscles and helping to maintain energy levels. Treated well, our muscles keep us lean, strong and life ready.

Website: feelingupbeat.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/feelingupbeat
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/feelingupbeat
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/feelingupbeat/

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.