Six friends take on ‘Dawn to Dusk’ challenge to raise funds for five-year-old with cerebral palsy

Five-year-old Gwilym Kidwell was born prematurely at 27 weeks. Credit: Tree of Hope

Six friends have challenged themselves to paddleboard from ‘Dawn to Dusk’ to raise funds for a local five-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy.

Mi Richardson, Jo Ibrahim, Amanda Davies, Kath Jones, Jay Doyle and Abi Barker-Smith from the Mumbles area in Swansea are taking on a paddleboard challenge today from ‘Dawn to Dusk’ at Langland Bay to help raise money for their friend's son.

Gwilym Kidwell, 5, lives in Cwmgors with mum Ffion, 38, Dad Jon, 36, and sister Nia, 2. Despite being born prematurely at 27 weeks, Gwilym has come a long way since his birth and can now walk on tiptoes over small distances and stands in a crouched position to keep himself more stable.

He would love to be to able to run and jump, but finds ways to stay active with his classmates at Gwaun Cae Gurwen.

Kath, Jo and Mi are taking part in the challenge today (October 2), along with three other friends. Credit: Tree of Hope

Gwilym’s family is currently waiting to find out if he will be deemed eligible for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery on the NHS. They are fundraising in case they need to pay for a private operation, and also for specialist physiotherapy to ensure that the outcome for Gwilym’s operation is the best possible.

Mum Ffion, an English teacher at Ffyone House School in Swansea, said: "In the latest assessment by his Paediatric Neurologist, Gwilym was praised for his fantastic improvement across all the assessment criteria and was recognised as a good candidate to be put forward for further consideration for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR).

"We know that the SDR operation is Gwilym’s best chance of long-term improvement for his condition and will unlock so much more of his potential.

"Gwilym’s indomitable strength and conditioning coach reminds us that ‘the stronger he goes in to the SDR operation, the more he will benefit’ so we are fundraising to increase this specialist therapy and make sure he can have the best post-op rehab recovery possible."

Mi Richardson, 53, Ffion’s friend and colleague at Ffynone House School said: "We wanted to set ourselves a real challenge to reflect Gwilym’s strength, determination and sense of fun. We’ve enjoyed paddle-boarding together for over 10 years, and we wanted to push ourselves – hence the ‘dawn til dusk’ challenge.

"We’re absolutely thrilled that more than £1000 has already been donated - and hope as many people as possible will continue to support Gwilym as he gets fighting-fit for his operation."

The Kidwell family is supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope. The charity helps families fundraise for children with healthcare needs which are not covered by the NHS and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support, whilst also providing donor reassurance. 

Gill Gibb, Tree of Hope CEO said: "We’re very impressed at these young women braving the cold to help add to Gwilym’s fund and we wish them all the best with their event."