VIDEO - Derry family fundraise to take Evie to America

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A dinner dance will be held in the Belfray on Saturday night to help raise money to send a local girl to America for a revolutionary new treatment for autism.

Neil and Gwen Cullimore’s six years-old daughter Evie is six and has autism.

“Over the past year we have started doing a play-based therapy with Evie known as The Son-Rise Program,” said Neil.

“This is a therapy that is led by the parents and involves joining in with Evie’s exclusive behaviours to build up a social bond with her, and ultimately build on this to try to improve her verbal communication, non-verbal communication (gestures etc), flexibility and interactive attention span.

“The underlying idea being that if we join Evie in her world and make a good bond, she will then want to join us in our world. We have seen great forward jumps in recent months with her eye contact, language and general play skills. We know we are on the right path to helping Evie to progress. Myself and my wife Gwen don’t have it in our heads that we will “cure” Evie of Autism, as Evie’s Autism is actually part of her personality and part of what makes her so special, but we certainly believe through this therapy we can help to make easier for her the things she often finds difficult in life – such as making herself understood and the various different social situations day-to-day life throws up for us all.”

The Son-Rise Program is based in Massachusetts, America and the family are fundraising to take Evie over for a week long “intensive” therapy.

The family need to raise £15k for the trip.

Already they have held two coffee mornings and taken part in various events that have received sponsorship for such as the recent Hard as Oak and a 50k cycle ride.

“So far we have raised almost £11k of the needed £15k,” said Neil. “The final push towards this is a Dinner-Dance-Raffle which will take place at The Belfray on October 17th. We are trying hard to get donations for prizes for the raffle.”

If you can donate a prize contact Neil on 07791 244 064.

You can also log on Evie’s Adventures - A Son-Rise Journey on facebook.