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SpecialEffect News

07 Jun 2013

Your support really counts - just ask Derry

Tick followed tock followed tick. The countdown to our British 10k team signup deadline (5pm Friday 14 June) has begun. But if you're still wavering about signing up, could I gently steer you in the direction of Derry? All the money that our runners raise will be going towards helping people like this genial 21 year-old.

Derry has transverse myelitis, which in his case means he uses assisted breathing and has no movement other than in his face and head. He's an avid gamer, but couldn't access his PlayStation. Gav, Bill and Marta whizzed over to visit him in Northampton last week with an idea about how to fix that.

Derry already uses a sip and puff switch and a head-controlled mouse to control his PC and play Football Manager, so we introduced a chin controlled joystick for the analogue stick, added some voice controls, and then remapped the games so that he could use them with his sip/puff switch. He's now playing FIFA13 and Metal Gear Solid on his PlayStation, and we've lent him the extra controllers and mounting equipment so that he can be sure it's suitable.

Below: sip, puff, shoot... score!

Every week we receive requests for help from people like Derry, people with a huge range of disabilities who simply want to enjoy the kind of video game fun that the rest of us take for granted. And every week we're on the road chewing our beards (well, maybe not Gillian and Marta) to come up with the custom solutions and adaptations to make that happen.

All the team here are genuinely delighted when we make the kind of breakthrough that we did with Derry. As with all our assessments and loans, there was no charge, and it's only thanks to your generous support, like your involvement in the British 10k, that we can keep people like Derry gaming to the best of his abilities.

But if you don't fancy the thrill of of gently running around along the leafy banks of the Thames, past the iconic London Eye and around the magnificent Houses of Parliament, while being cheered on by a crowd of thousands, could I introduce you to another hardy bunch of intrepid athletes who are facing blood sweat and tears this very weekend to raise money for us. The links go to their JustGiving pages.

Huge respect to the team from the aptly-named Splash Damage studios, plus Jo and Tom Evans who'll be braving the Tough Mudder event, a hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by Special Forces.

Then there's John Edwards, Steve and Simon from Robert Stanley Opticians, along with Kaye Cook, Kate Rigby and Michelle Jenkins, who won't be fooled by the sedate setting of Oxfordshire's Blenheim Place. The triathlon there contains some utterly unforgiving hills, so they set off with our best wishes.

We're equally grateful to the team from creative digital agency Fish in a Bottle who'll be running from Warwick to Kenilworth in the testing Two Castles Run.

And last but certainly not least, Carl Tysom is swimming 10k in a freezing lake in Buttermere for us. That's brave, bonkers or beautiful. Or all three.

If you can, it would be great if you could show your support to these wonderful people. They're making it possible for us to help Derry, Henry, Arlo, Charlotte and many, many others. All of them will be gaining a big slice of personal achievement for their efforts, and the same is true for very one of our British 10k team in July.

That could be you too. There's still time to sign up, and we can welcome you to our team of over 50 runners. The run's in London on 14 July, so there's still waaaay more than enough time to train. It's a brilliant day, and all for a measly £50 signup fee (which goes to the organisers, not us), and a mere £200 in sponsorship.

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