Brighton is set for a Pirate Takeover on Sunday July 27 when swashbuckling hearties from across the globe are invited to walk the seafront in aid of two good causes.
Fancy dress is the order of the day – from eye patches to Jack Sparrow regalia – as pirates and land lubbers maraud from Big Beach Café at Hove Lagoon to the Yellowave Volleyball Courts on Madeira Drive.
The day, organised by the Rocking Dreams group, is the brainchild of Brighton-based Laura-Marie Greenfield and her family to raise money for children’s charities Rockinghorse and Promise Dreams.
Laura was born with an extremely rare condition called bilateral vocal cord palsy. The condition left her unable to breathe without the aid of a tracheostomy – a small tube in her throat – for the first ten years of her life.
She made no sound for her first year and at the time of her birth was the only person in the country diagnosed with the condition that required 24-hour care. It was not known if Laura would ever gain a voice or breathe unaided.
Remarkably Laura’s strength, courage and determination led her to cope with her condition and she now breathes freely, speaks and while she still requires ongoing care she lives a relatively normal life.
This is made possible by the life-saving specialist treatment at Brighton’s Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.
Rockinghorse is the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital who has not only made Laura’s treatment possible by offering funding for specialist machinery but also make it more bearable by helping to support play monitors and pain therapists.
Promise Dreams is an organisation that offers dream experiences for seriously and terminally ill children.
While Laura’s tracheostomy tube offered a lifeline for air to reach her lungs it meant she was unable to swim. Should any water enter the tube it would have directly filled her lungs.
When Laura became strong enough to breathe unaided Promise Dreams offered her the trip of a lifetime to swim with dolphin in Florida. It was an emotional experience and the perfect dream to mark such an important achievement in her journey.
Laura is turning 18 this year and is due to have her care transferred to the adult hospital The Royal Sussex County. She wanted to mark the transition by fundraising for two charities that have truly made a difference to her life.
Both Laura and her family want to ensure more children have the same support and opportunities that were made available to them.
In particular Laura is keen to raise enough money to offer additional facilities for teenagers and older children at Royal Alexandra, and enough to pay for a dream experience through Promise Dreams.
To get involved all you need to do is register via the Facebook page, be sponsored by your friends and family – and then turn up on the day in all your best pirate finery. The walk starts at 10.30am and finishes at approximately 12.30pm.
If you are unable to attend on the day please show your support by donating to the JustGiving page.