A truck-obsessed teen’s days in self-isolation have been made by truckers across the country.
Seven years ago, at the age of ten, Christopher Anderson, from Thornton Cleveleys, near Blackpool, had his wish granted by children’s charity, Make-A-Wish® UK.
The impact of the wish has been incomprehensible for both Christopher and his family, so much so that his mum, Christine, is now a volunteer for the charity, visiting families in the North of England to capture the One True Wish of other children in similar situations to her.
Recalling the impact of the wish, Christine said:
“Make-A-Wish has changed our lives. We have been through so much and often found it difficult to get basic equipment and support.
“Having a dream come true helped us get through tough times but has given us memories to keep forever. We were made to feel so special every step of the way.
“Chris’s twin Jess will never forget it. It was our magical place and our special time away from appointments, letters and phone calls. Our time to just be a family, be spoiled and looked after but more than anything, have fun.
“We can never thank Make-A-Wish enough. Our family photo still sits by our bed and makes me smile every day.”
Now seventeen, Christopher is a trucking-obsessed teenager who loves everything about lorries and has done for five years, when it all started with his love of Eddie Stobart’s. He said:
“I enjoy recording the ones I see on my frequent long journeys and, more recently, I have become interested in different sizes, types and makes of lorries and how they look and work.”
As luck would have it, Truck Mate UK, a worldwide private Facebook group that acts as a forum for truck drivers, was searching for their next Charity of The Year, having previously supported Macmillan and independently raised enough funds to install two defibrillators for their local community.
In October 2019, Truck Mate UK made a surprise announcement at a meetup, revealing that Make-A-Wish UK was their fourth ‘Charity of The Year’.
At the same time Truck Mate UK announced Make-A-Wish UK as its next charity partner, Christine mentioned her son’s love of trucks to the charity, which inspired the organisation to invite Christopher and his family as their guests of honour to the Truck Show in June.
Sadly, Christopher, who suffers from Spina Bifida and Adrenal Insufficiency, has been forced into self-isolation amid growing fears surrounding Covid-19, as any contact with the outside world could put him at severe risk. Stress and anxiety also put Christopher at higher risk of infection, meaning he isn’t able to recover as quickly.
The Truck Show has also been postponed until further notice, but Truck Mate UK Admin, Charlie Karolia, didn’t want to make Christopher wait. Charlie knows just how much wish children are affected by self-isolation, so he has urged the trucking community to come together to bring joy and happiness to Christopher, by sending videos of their trucks, at a time where the kindness and support towards others is needed most.
And now Charlie wants other truckers to do the same. He said:
“After speaking to Make-A-Wish, it became apparent that we could still do something for Christopher, just in a different way. So, we urged drivers to film their trucks and talk about their vehicles and their daily routines.
“The reaction has been brilliant and embodies what Truck Mate UK is about; helping where we can and bringing special, priceless and money-can’t-buy moments to families.
“Knowing that we’ve brought a smile to Christopher’s face is worth taking a couple of minutes out of our day to film our truck. And for that reason, everybody should do it.”
But the challenge for truckers doesn’t stop there. Christopher had waited years for a truck to be named in his honour, and last year that wish came true, with ‘Christine Julie’. However, it has never been seen by the family. Could you be the first to find it and take a picture for them?
Grace Mercer, Regional Fundraising Manager for North of England and the Isle of Man at Make-A-Wish-UK, said:
“The charity is currently experiencing unprecedented demand, with more children than ever turning to Make-A-Wish in the last couple of months alone.
“That, coupled with the uncertain times Covid-19 presents businesses and Wish Families nationwide, has meant that, sadly, self-isolation, for the children we help, remains as ‘business as usual’.
“Self-isolation is tough for everyone facing it, but especially for our Wish Families who are considered high risk, which is why the wishes we grant time and time again are so important.
“During this period, we need the support of individuals and business fundraisers like Truck Mate UK more than ever, who can help us secure the future of children’s wishes once venues, events and suppliers open again.”
If you would like to submit videos of your truck – or truck journey – to keep Christopher going, or have seen the Christine Julie on your travels, please email Grace.Mercer@makeawish.org.uk.
You can support Truck Mate UK in their bid to grant life-changing wishes for critically ill children via their JustGiving page