An amazing family are taking on several challenges to raise money for Evelina London as a thank you for the care given to their disabled twins.
Georgie and James Melville-Ross have spent more time at Evelina London than many of the staff. Their 13-year-old twins – Alice and Tommy – were born at St Thomas’ four months early, at just 24 weeks. Both children were critically ill when they were born and were only given a one in five chance of surviving. Alice suffered four heart attacks within hours of birth and within days Tommy almost died from a haemorrhage in his lungs. They were cared for in the Neonatal Unit for nine long months before being allowed home.
The twins have severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy with dystonia. Cerebral palsy is caused by a problem in the parts of the brain responsible for controlling muscles – and this affects the whole of their bodies, giving them uncontrolled muscle contractions. They have been supported by Evelina London since the age of two under Dr Jean-Pierre Lin and his team at The Complex Motor Disorder Service (CMDS).
James has written a book about their lives, an honest account of life with disabled children. He describes ‘Two for Joy’, written on his commute to work, as ‘a diary to make sense of the whirlwind’.
The whirlwind for both James and Georgie is non-stop, a life full of caring for the twins – and their younger sister India – and frequent hospital visits.
On August 19, Team Twinvincibles completed its final challenge – the Superhero Triathlon for disabled competitors at Dorney Lake. It was a very special day, with 2,000 athletes and an amazing array of wheelchairs, bikes and boats to propel people with a wide variety of disability to the finish line. James said: ‘It was an unusual and not altogether unpleasant feeling for our family to be the same as everyone else for once.
‘India and I completed the swim without too much fuss (the £2.99 rubber dinghy proving more than capable as a craft for me to pull). Georgie then took on the cycle with Alice. Tommy and I then completed the race on foot and wheelchair.’
All of this innovative fundraising has raised over £50,000 for Evelina London. James said: ‘Our original target was £10,000 so we have been blown away by your generosity, thank you. A special mention to Luke Chappell, who cycled to Prague and in doing so raised £10,000 of the total. Thank you Luke!'