A group of Alder Hey Children’s Charity child ambassadors will help launch Southport Pleasureland’s Christmas experience this Saturday (12 December), by each filming their ‘if I had just one wish’ for Christmas.
Their visit will not only see them and their families enjoy VIP treatment, as well as big wishes for family and friends, it marks the first day of a new partnership with Alder Hey Children’s Charity as the park’s Charity of the Year for 2021.
The park, the region’s ‘Happy HQ’, says its Winter experience, which opens this Saturday (December 12) will ‘bring home Christmas’ – surrounded by Covid-19 protection best practice – starting on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th December. The park will then open daily from Saturday 19th December until January 3rd 2021 (with the exception of Christmas Day). Gates will open at 11am, with all the rides and fun starting from 12 o’clock midday.
And it’s looking a lot like Christmas at the park, with everything from people’s favourite rides to a trip around Santa’s workshop.
Daniel Bell, Katie Countanche and Ben Parry are the first of the charity’s ambassadors to offer their special ‘one’ Christmas wish. The countdown to Christmas at Pleasureland starts with Daniel Bell’s wish. Daniel’s one wish? A generous and unselfish wish – for a trolley with gaming equipment for the hospital so that young patients can lose themselves in play and transport themselves through imagined worlds. Pleasureland will release the charity’s ambassadors wishes on the run up to Christmas – to offer a little inspiration and a lot of hope and joy from these amazing children.
For the first few years of Daniel Bell’s life, he was like any other toddler, happy and full of energy at home in Ormskirk, but doctors soon discovered Daniel had a brain tumour the size of a fist.
As he turned three, mum Rosalind and dad Colin, noticed a change in Daniel’s behaviour. He wasn’t the same happy go lucky little boy. Rosalind explains: “His personality literally changed. He was grumpy had lots of tantrums, was sick and went back to sleeping in the day too, which was the total opposite of what he was previously.”
Thankfully Rosalind recognised some of the symptoms of a brain tumour. Daniel was taken to Ormskirk A&E which quickly realised the severity of the situation and Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
He was rushed straight to Alder Hey which is a centre of excellence for brain conditions. “It was like the bottom had fallen out of my world, our lives changed in a split second. We were told he needed to go to Alder Hey right away and we were blue-lighted to Liverpool,” says Rosalind.
Once at Alder Hey, Daniel was taken straight to theatre where Neurosurgeon Ms Sasha Burns drained fluid on his brain during a 3 hour life-saving operation and the next day Daniel’s tumour was removed during a 9 hour operation by Mr Conor Mallucci.
“Mr Mallucci told us that Daniel had a cystic tumour which was the size of an adult’s fist and there was a possibility of Daniel losing motor and mobility skills as the result of the procedure,” explained Rosalind.
The operation was a success, helped by the use of Alder Hey’s 3-T MRI scanner, a pioneering machine which allows surgeons to scan the brain in theatre which was funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity. Alder Hey is the first hospital in Europe to have this kit.
Pleasureland CEO, Norman Wallis, said: “We are thrilled to have Alder Hey Children’s Charity as our charity of the year for 2021. The charity does brilliant work and is focused on helping families stay whole and happy – and we couldn’t wish for a better fit with our own goals – to deliver happy experiences to families. It’s a privilege to welcome some of the charity’s ambassadors and their families at our Winter Wonderland experience on opening day. I’ve watched the ‘just one wish’ video series and it is heart-warming how generous and thoughtful these incredible children are – thinking of others in their wishes. We want to make wishes come true and we want to help everyone have a Happy Christmas – we will do our utmost to support Alder Hey Children’s Charity during what, we hope, will be a much better year. Anyone who would like to support the charity should visit the donations’ page https://donate.alderheycharity.org/public/; Pleasureland’s own donations’ programme will start from January.”
Daniel is now a healthy and very active little boy and also a budding actor. He has performed in Little Shop of Horrors with his local Performing Arts Club and he loves to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity. As a result of his fundraising, Daniel was named a Fundraising Ambassador for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, which made everyone in the Bell family very proud.
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