National family charity’s flagship 2012 Games Inspired Muscle Dreams programme enriched the lives of some 75 young people with Muscular Dystrophy along with their families enjoy an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience over the 10 days of the London 2012 Paralympic Games … an experience that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives.
GIMD photo collections on Flickr
A series of ‘Musclympic’ welcome parties including a themed games room hosted by hotel partner Radisson Blu Edwardian New Providence Wharf at their stunning riverside location in Canary Wharf opposite the O2 Arena kicked proceedings off – there were also opportunities for beneficiaries and their families to have photographs taken with the Paralympic Torch and a carefully choreographed Opening Ceremony parade to the sounds of Vangelis Chariots of Fire took place each night on the boardwalk thanks to international property developer Ballymore Group.
The overnight stay for all families was just the beginning of an incredible period at the Paralympic Park watching the ‘Superhumans’ in action in the various venues including the main stadium. There were several memorable face-to-face meetings with various athletes and personalities including the likes of Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson
This high profile event was featured on BBC News and the Channel 4 Paralympic Breakfast show (twice!) involving the appearance of one of the programmes beneficiaries Olivia Webster with the charity’s co-founder and CEO Michael McGrath.
Feedback from beneficiaries and families was extremely powerful, not least that 89% of families rated their Games Inspired Muscle Dream as ‘excellent’. Read more about the programme’s impact.
Project Manager Ros Cramp said, “this charity stands apart from others because of Michael, who through his daily life gives hope to others. One beneficiary aged 21yrs wrote ‘you are such an inspiration with how positive and determined you are, which is something I strive to be in my own life’.
The programme was supported by nearly 50 dedicated and passionate volunteers who were not only enriched by the experience but also many who grew as individuals during their marathon 24-hour beneficiary hosting duties.
“The event involved over two years of planning; it was a huge success in every respect. I know that it has left a positive legacy with all of our beneficiaries”, said McGrath affectionately known as the Chief Muscle Warrior.
Endorsed by Lord Coe and LOCOG, this official ‘Inspired by 2012’ Paralympics charity programme could not have happened without the support of so many volunteers, the charity’s operational team and of course all of our sponsors.
“Whilst it’s been an exhausting few years, I’m absolutely thrilled that the original vision conceived just after London won the bid has been realised. I wanted to make sure that the charity got involved and played its part. Our beneficiaries from around the country including a cohort from Scotland, some families from Wales and a family from Ireland witnessed something extraordinary and were undoubtedly inspired by the achievements of so many Paralympic athletes; our volunteers willingly gave of themselves in assisting the charity and I know that, for some, engagement with our families has had a very deep and positive impact. As for my core team, they’ve been fantastic. Together, we changed lives!”, concluded Michael.