Mum gears up to repay help of children’s deaf charity

by / Tuesday, 28 August 2007 / Published in FDFC News

Abigail Willis, mother of two Fulham players with Camilla playing for
the Womens, and Jacob who has been involved with the youth team and now trains with the mens squad.  

Martin, the father is also involved with FDFC and sits on the committee as a
parent representative. Abigail will start a cycling tour along the Nile
next year to support the charity National Deaf Children Society.

Abigail Willis, pictured with Jacob, Tamara and Camilla, is keen to offer thanks to the National Deaf Children’s Society for the support she has received over the years.

Abigail Willis will start a gruelling cycle tour along the Nile next year for a charity that has supported her throughout her life.

The 44-year-old mum from Woking, who is profoundly deaf, will cycle more than 200 blistering miles to raise money for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

When Abigail and her brother were born deaf, the NDCS helped their parents and the organisation now offers support to her own family as she and her deaf husband have three deaf children.

She said: I’m raising money for the charity because a lot of parents of deaf children need support. NDCS helps with all sorts of things, such as toys and education and also provides a helpline.

Life for the Willis family is much like any other. Tamara, 19, is studying maths at Oxford Brookes, Camilla, 17, is doing A-levels and Jacob, 15, his GCSEs.

But as they are an entirely deaf family, the charity offers a crucial source of support. Abigail said: Home life is not straightforward. We need things to help look after us, like a doorbell which lights up and smoke alarms and alarm clocks that vibrate under our beds.

The support deaf people get is very, very different from when I was young. We have got more technology now, especially with mobile phones and email.

We don’t really think anything is different about our deafness. But the NDCS is still important for running things such as support groups.

We also have a Christmas party for deaf people in the region and a lot of other activities. The kids go off on holiday with other deaf children.

Abigail’s husband Martin, 49, works for an insurance company. He agreed that the needs of deaf people had changed over time, saying: People are much more aware now than they were in our youth. When I was younger people used to stare at us but now people are more accepting.”

Abigail’s cycling route will start in March at Luxor and heads south along the Nile to Aswan. It then turns back to Luxor via Kom Ombo, famous for its ancient temple.

Despite timing the challenge to coincide with one of Egypt’s coolest months, Abigail will be faced with daytime temperatures of between 29 and 45 degrees Celsius.

She is hoping to raise £2,500 in sponsorship and has already received more than £1,000 after a collection at Goldsworth Park shopping centre last month.

She said: I would like to thank all the shoppers who contributed. I was amazed at the generosity of people on the day. They were very kind and the money raised will be put to good use.

This cycling challenge will be my third after previous trips to Mexico and Vietnam. I am looking forward to it but the training will be tough.

One of the most important aspects of the charity’s work is in educating hearing people.

Abigail said: It teaches people to speak clearly and maintain eye contact, which is very important for lip-reading.

Some people are better than others and sometimes deaf people get embarrassed if they have to keep repeating themselves. But you need a bit of patience.

More information about the NDCS and its fundraising efforts can be found by logging on to www.ndcs.org.uk.

Source: Woking News & Mail

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