21-year-old Luke Millington, from Telford, decided to lead a fundraising appeal for Hope House and Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices and is celebrating after smashing his £50,000 goal – raising £60,000.

Luke made a video to show how the charity has helped him since he was diagnosed with the incurable muscle-wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  It tells how his nurse Rachel has supported him and made him see that anything is possible, such as learning to drive.

Luke said: “I’m in a wheelchair but it’s not the be all and end all – I just carry on. There is stuff I can’t do but what’s the point of thinking about what you can’t do?”

He added: “I’ve been playing wheelchair football now for five or six years because football is something I like that I didn’t think I’d be able to do. We tackle and crash and it’s pretty cool!  My dream is to play for England. I need to play a lot better before that, but I can get there I think!”

His story and incredible positivity captured everyone’s hearts and the hospices were bombarded with messages for Luke, along with donations.

Luke is thrilled, because the money raised will fund support for five more children at Hope House or Ty Gobaith in 2020.

He says: “I feel really lucky to have Hope House in my life but sad too that they can only afford to help one in every three children who need them.”

Telford Centre Rotary were so impressed with Luke that they nominated him for a Rotary Young Citizen Award.  Luke has also helped the Club with their Tree of Light – which commemorates loved ones at Christmas.

Luke said: “I would like to say a big massive thank you to the Telford Centre Rotary Club for nominating me for this fantastic Award. When Hope House approached me to become their Ambassador, I was thrilled with the opportunity to help raise funds for the charity that has help my family and I so much.”

He added: “Attending fundraising events has given me important life skills such as the confidence to take part in public speaking. It has also given me the opportunity to get involved with Rotary.  When the world has come out of these unprecedented times, i hope to continue with helping Hope House and Telford Centre Rotary with other fundraising projects.”

Luke will receive a trophy, certificate and £300 to go towards his chosen project or charity from Rotary in Britain and Ireland.  The Rotary Young Citizen Awards Presentation had been due to take place at the UK’s first-ever Volunteer Expo, organised by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland at the NEC in Birmingham this month but the event has been postponed until May 2021 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Rotary in Britain and Ireland President Donna Wallbank said: “Luke shows how one person can make a difference to many others and highlights the need that is still there to help those who are not currently receiving the help that Luke is able to receive. Luke is obviously a passionate fundraiser and so very deserving of this award which in turn allows his voice to be heard for those he wishes to support too.”

Vanessa Thomas, Head of Communications at Hope House and Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices said: “Luke is an amazing young Ambassador for Hope House Children’s Hospices and a complete inspiration to everyone who meets him.   He was the first of our young service users to share his story. His bravery in speaking so honestly and frankly about his life with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the challenges that he and his family face touched everyone’s hearts and helped people to see the importance of children’s hospices.”

She added: “We are eternally grateful to Luke for helping to raise an incredible £60,000 through his Luke’s Story appeal which will fund vital care and support for other young people, and for being such an inspirational and positive role model for other children and young people who are diagnosed with life-threatening conditions.”

Rotary Young Citizen Awards

The Rotary Young Citizen Awards were started in 2007 to celebrate the amazing achievements of inspirational young people across Great Britain and Ireland, many of whom have assumed important responsibilities at a very young age.  Discover your local Rotary and find out how you can make new friends and a difference in your community. Find out about the other inspirational Rotary Young Citizen Award 2020 Winners at www.rotarygbi.org.