Our charity partner The Muscle Help Foundation offered children with muscular dystrophy the adventure of a lifetime at the Porsche Experience Centre. Daniel Fountain reports from this awe-inspiring event.
Speeding along a Formula 1 track at 120 miles an hour in a Porsche is probably every petrol head’s dream. And for eight beneficiaries of the muscular dystrophy charity Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), that dream became a reality on a summer’s day back in June.
Eight lucky speed addicts and their families took part in the latest Porsche Muscle Dream – now a regular event on the charity’s calendar – at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. The day, which was hosted at Whittlebury Hall, started with an introductory briefing from the foundation’s creator Michael McGrath. Michael’s passion for what he does is in evident from the moment you meet him.
His aim, with the help of numerous volunteers, donors and ambassadors, is to fulfil the dreams of children and young people living with muscular dystrophy. In fact, MHF hopes to achieve 657 dreams – one for every muscle in the human body – and to date have hit the 257 mark. Michael is confident of reaching the ultimate figure and explains how seeing young people having one of the best days of their life is his “motivation and his fuel to continue his mission”.
As the beneficiaries – aged between 11 and 21 years old – enjoyed being shown how to operate a £10,000 drone and treated to the epic engine sounds of a Porsche 911 and a vintage Ferrari, it was amazing to see how quickly Michael and the MHF volunteers form a rapport with the beneficiaries and the families. Michael’s own MD diagnosis at the age of 18 means he has lived with the condition for more than 30 years, and his expeditions to the north and south poles gave birth to the MHF and the 657 dreams idea. It has since gone on to snowball and continues to go from strength to strength – with Lorraine Kelly, Kenneth Branagh and Richard Branson included in its supporters.
The Porsche experience is one of many such experiences organised by the charity and this particular outing marked the sixth time MHF beneficiaries got a chance to be driven around the Silverstone track in some of Porsche’s most popular models, perform donuts and feel the rush of drifting thanks to the expert team of drivers at the experience centre. The joy on the faces of the beneficiaries afterwards was the perfect testimonial, and eight more dreams had been fulfilled.
What hits home most is the personalised experience that Michael and his team of volunteers offer the families. Their infectious enthusiasm and Michael’s constant requests for the MHF ‘Muscle Salute’ builds a sense of community from the off; everyone involved becomes what Michael calls a ‘Muscle Warrior’.
At PA Life, we salute the fantastic work of Michael and the Muscle Help Foundation – here’s to the ‘power of 657’.
To find out more about the Muscle Help Foundation’s work or to donate, visit musclehelp.com