If you were in Grovelands Park over the Centenary weekend, you may have seen or even met the event’s youngest star, Harvey Parry, aged seven; double amputee and one of the world’s youngest paralympians. If you weren't there, meet Harvey and his mother Carol.
Harvey was born on October 25th 2005 to Carol and Jon, who already had an adopted daughter Sharma, now aged 23, who is studying law, but was a former pupil of Palmers Green High. Harvey was a surprise baby, as Carol was 43 when she conceived and the couple had been told that they could not have children. However, the joy turned to sorrow when Harvey was fifteen months old, as he developed meningitis meningococcal septicaemia and the family’s lives were turned upside down.
To save Harvey, surgeons had to amputate both of his legs and half of his right hand, whilst his left hand is partially paralysed and he has extensive scarring over this body. Whilst surgeons were able to save Harvey’s life, the family were soon to find out that the aftercare for children like Harvey was less than satisfactory, especially as Harvey’s stumps were not the same length, so it was impossible for him to stand on the basic prosthetic stumps provided by the NHS. It was apparent that if they didn't want Harvey to be confined to a wheelchair, they needed to go to the States for prosthetic limbs, to give him the best possible start in life.
The limbs alone cost over £116,000 a year, without all the ensuing travel and sustenance costs, which has been financed over the past five years by a relentless round of fundraising, using all the possible channels to keep Harvey’s story in the news to meet these demanding targets, Harvey’s state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs need to be changed every six months as he grows, so they need to finance at least two trips a year to the States. Here is Harvey at various stage of his ongoing treatment, through the years.
It was though the prestigious Hanger Prosthetics institute, who supply Harvey's limbs, that the Parry’s were introduced to the Endeavour Games, organised by the International Paralympic Committee and the University of Central Oklahoma, a world authority on sports rehabilitation. Hanger Prosthetics sponsored Harvey for the first year and for the past five years Harvey has ‘represented’ Britain – yet has received no financial support to participate, as the Government does not support competitions for children of such a young age. Yet ironically, Carol, Harvey’s mother would argue that Harvey has benefited enormously from his participation in the annual games and other camps for child amputees, building his confidence and stamina. If you google Harvey Parry you will find dozens of stories about his gold medals and achievements and fundraising campaigns for Harvey, including the Mirror and VIrgin Airlines. Locally the family have received massive support from the Edmonton branch of the Rotary Club, who now run the trust fund for Harvey.
Yet the years of fighting for funds for Harvey has taken its toll on the family, both Carol and Jonathan have lost their businesses, they have been burgled by thieves looking for cash and a few months ago Carol suffered a heart attack, as a result of the strain. As a result, she has had to reduce the amount of time she spends fundraising for Harvey. Hanger have agreed to fit Harvey with new legs but there isn't enough money in the account to pay for them, due to the fundraising hiatus.
The family moved to Winchmore Hill in March 2013, now living close to Grovelands Park. Carol and Harvey came to the Park on Saturday afternoon and the Friends of Grovelands Park arranged for an impromptu fundraising in the park on Sunday. So many people were moved by Harvey’s story and his plucky approach to life that over £1200 was collected on the day. The family and his supporters were moved by the generosity of people in the park and Harvey spent an enjoyable afternoon playing with children, who accepted him without questioning his disability.
So warm was the reception that he received, that Harvey now feels confident about the idea of moving to a local school in N21, which he had previously rejected, which would save his father two hours in the day.
Why isn’t more done for children like Harvey, to maximise their life changes? That question was put to David Burrowes MP who was introduced to Harvey and Carol. Mr Burrowes is arranging for Carol to pose these questions to the Sports and Disability Ministers shortly.
Whilst the people in the park gave generously, more finance is needed for Harvey’s next trip in a few weeks, to participate in the Endeavor Games and sports camps, where he will receive specialist physiotherapy. Despite his handicaps, Harvey is sports mad and his ambition is to take part in the Paralympics in 2020 and bring more gold back to Britain. Harvey is the youngest child in the world to have running legs and the first child to be fitted with hydraulic knees.
Carol and Jon recognise that there are many more children like Harvey who are far less fortunate, often having to make do with "prosthetic legs which look like something left over from the First World War", according to Carol. It is her ambition to bring the Endeavor games to Europe and set up 'Camp Living Life' to raise the aspirations and achievements of young children like Harvey and give them a brighter future. She is a highIy professional campaigner, who has devoted her life to her son but is already benefiting thousands of other people. In 2010 Carol fought to get rules changed regarding co-payments, which used to prevent people who have sought help in the private sector from also receiving NHS support.
If you are a parent, there was almost certainly a time when you thought that strange rash on your child could be meningitis. Thankfully it wasn’t.
Can you make a donation?
Can you organise a local fundraising event for Harvey?
Can you help to share Harvey's story to keep the campaign going?
Details can be found on the Harvey Parry Appeal Fund website, together with scores of extraordinary stories, documenting his brave fight. Remember he is only seven.
Click on the image to download the sponsorship details
Bank Account Details UK
Name: Harvey Parry Appeal Fund
Barclays Bank: Sort Code: 20-29-90
Harvey would like to say a big thank you to the generous people who gave money to the fund on Sunday.
"Thank you for being nice to me and welcoming me to your community I made lots of new friends which was nice and i really liked playing on the bouncy castle it was really really good.The music and different shows was brilliant and the fireworks display at the end was Magnificent. The whole Centenary at Grovelands Park was actually spectacular and a Grand Event . I am very happy to join this Energetic, happy, friendly and fun Community. I really enjoyed it. I just wanted to add that the event raised £1212. I am stunned and happy that people actually sponsored me". Thank you from Harvey Parry, dictated to Mum
Perhaps we will have our own local Paralympian in 2020?
Before that, wouldn’t Grovelands Park make a great setting for the UK’s first Endeavour Games?