Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | March 14, 2012

Back at work… and THE most wonderful tea cosy

Well, R went back to work yesterday and H today, after our unique career breaks. We are so grateful to our employers Kingston Grammar School and for keeping our jobs open for us.

The prize-giving for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge has just been announced for 12 April – in the marvellous location of a function room up one of the towers of Tower Bridge – how cool is that?! Photos will duly be posted on our Facebook page!/pages/Atlantic-Rowing-by-the-Smalman-Smiths/181213971901309 and we’ll report by blog too!

But in the meantime, our friend Elaine Laverick, who suffered from OARS severely (her symptoms didn’t even abate whilst abroad in a ski chalet looking after her grandchildren, and really, you can’t get much more of a distraction than that!) has had a Team GB tea cosy signed by all of the women and men’s lightweights currently in GB squad and has donated this excellent and unique piece of homeware to us to auction in aid of the Huntington’s Disease Association. Wow!

Elaine’s daughter, Elise, won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens with Sarah Winkless, whose mother has been suffering from Huntington’s for many years and inspired Helena to choose the HDA as her charity for our Atlantic row. Sarah will sadly develop the disease too.

Sarah says:

Helena and Richard had a dream – a huge big scary goal of cross the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Barbados in a small rowing boat, with just their own will and man power to get them there. Brilliantly they achieved it in 75 days, 1 hour and 29 minutes. Not only did they achieve this, they decided to support HDA, the Huntington’s Disease Association.

I cannot thank them enough for doing this, because families who live with the spectre of Huntington’s know about things that are big and scary, they may have watched family members ‘change’ as the disease kicks in, effecting mood, memory and movement. They may have been told that they are at risk of the disease, there being a 50//50 chance of each child inheriting the gene that causes Huntington’s. They may even have been tested for that gene themselves and when it was found they had it, been told that there wasn’t a lot that could be done, all the doctors knew what that meant that at some point they too would start showing symptoms. I know this from personal experience, Mum has Huntington’s and I have the gene.

It is organisations such as the Huntington’s Disease Association that help families such as mine access the care and support they need to cope with the everyday challenges that this illness can present. They also help educate doctors, families and friend about the disease so that they can best support the person suffering. Finally they also support research that can help us understand the disease better, create more effective treatments and possibly even find a cure. Please get involved in this raffle and support a great cause.

So please email us at tigerteam.atlantic with your bid for this wonderful Tea Cosy in aid of Huntington’s asap and definitely before 7pm this Sunday, 18 March! We will then contact the winner with how to pay. If you’re the winner, every time you put it on your tea pot, you will know that it’s not just warming your tea, but someone’s heart.


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