It all started with a dream: to help children affected by cerebral palsy to be more brave, to achieve more freedom, and to believe in themselves.
I can honestly say that seeing the unique artwork the children have produced, working in partnership with some of the most renowned artists in the world, has taken my breath away.
I want you to know how powerful your continued support is in helping us to make a real difference in the lives of these children.
You see we know that, while there is no cure for cerebral palsy, the right care in place at an early age can help these children to make real progress, gain greater freedom and lead a better quality of life.
Every child in this country deserves the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential.
In children with cerebral palsy this can often mean funding support for treatments that give small gains that are not always immediately obvious.
But I want to reassure you that your support really is funding a long-term miracle.
I truly believe that charity is an attitude of the heart.
Growing up as a young girl in Russia I used to pass a school for children living with disorders such as autism every day and this deeply affected me.
These children were forced to play in a different school yard, and lived in a very closed environment compared to mine. It made me feel so sad to see them closed away from the rest of society like this and I wanted to be able to make a difference to their lives.
This feeling has stayed with me to this day. By standing with children affected by cerebral palsy I can not only help to raise funds, but also go some way to ensuring they are not isolated by their condition.
One of the most pivotal moments in my life came when my daughter was born and I realised how lucky I was to be able to give her medicine when she was sick, and how frustrating it must be not to be able to give everything you can to your child to make them well.
This is what really inspired me to set up the Gracious Heart Charity Foundation, so that by working with valued partners like Brainwave, Small Steps and The Children’s Trust, I could provide as much support as possible to parents in this situation.
The costs of treatment are too high for some parents who are struggling to make ends meet, and one parent told us they simply couldn’t afford the help they needed by themselves.
They have no choice but to approach a charity like ours to ask for support to help their child receive the quality of care they really deserved.
I think you will agree, these children have shown they can not only create incredible works of art, but they also deserve our acknowledgement of their work, regardless of their disability.
As I have already said, charity is an attitude of the heart. Charity is what we do as a society to help families with a disabled child to feel more integrated, less isolated in their communities, supported and valued.
I hope you will join us in making a real and lasting difference to the lives of these children and their families who we help to support.
These children are brave, they can achieve more freedom, they can believe in themselves and they can have a brighter future.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Founder of Gracious Heart Foundation