Norwich youngsters toddle off to raise money for rare conditiion

Families gathered at a city park over the weekend for a fundraising Easter Toddle event to raise awareness of a rare, incurable genetic condition.

Chantelle Bishop, of Horsham St Faith, organised the event in Eaton Park to raise awareness of Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T) and to raise funds for the A-T Society after her three-year-old niece, Brooke Sprawling, was diagnosed with the condition last year.

Ms Bishop's sister Justine Sprawling, of Norman Close in Scarning, is the mother of Brooke and said that although she appears to be a healthy toddler at the moment, it is likely she will be in a wheelchair by the time she is 10. 'We hope to do two events every year, one for the adults and one for the children,' she said.

'It is important to raise both funding and awareness as it really is a life-changing thing.'

Brooke is one of the youngest children in the country to be diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease, which affects about three people per million in the UK.

More than 50 children took part in the toddle event, which saw them and their families playing in the play area and walking to different stops with a basket to pick up gifts. They then got the chance to enjoy a picnic in the park at the end.

Mrs Sprawling's neighbour Lisa Hallbrought her children Anai, two, Isla, eight, and Ashton, 11, as well as her nephew Finley Baker, five, to the event. She said: 'We thought it would be great to come along and help out.'

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Ashton added: 'It has been really fun walking around and looking at what is around and in the boxes. My favourite Easter present was the chocolate eggs.

'I just hope that the little girl gets the help she needs.'

Businesses donated Easter-related items to put in the baskets, including Waitrose in Norwich and Wilkinsons in Dereham, who donated gift vouchers.

Last year, Ms Bishop organised a 5k charity run which took place around the lake at the University of East Anglia. More than 40 people took part in the event, including 10 children and Brooke herself, and more than �1,500 was raised for the charity.

To find out more information or to donate money to the A-T Society, go to

Are you doing something amazing for charity? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop on 01603 772438 or email

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