Adam Gemili, Ashley Bryant and Guy Learmonth were among the guests as some special spectators enjoyed Diamond League action in London
Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili was among the guests to visit Barrie Wells Trust’s Box4Kids at the recent Müller Anniversary Games as five deserving children enjoyed the action from an executive box at the London Stadium.
Box4Kids is a charitable initiative run by the Barrie Wells Trust which invites seriously ill and disabled children to enjoy VIP experiences in executive boxes at 75 major sport and entertainment venues across the UK.
Barrie Wells, the founder and sole funder of the charity, was at the British Athletics-donated box to welcome the children who are currently being treated for illnesses such as cancer and serious heart conditions.
One of the children who attended was eight-year-old Thomas. He has a severe heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which means he was born with a group of four structural abnormalities within the heart. After having surgery to correct this at 17 weeks old, Thomas now requires regular hospital check-ups as well as future surgery.
Thomas’ father said: “Thank you for an amazing day out at the athletics. My son had the time of his life. Thank you Box4Kids – amazing charity.”
Decathlete Ashley Bryant and Guy Learmonth, who clocked a big PB in his 800m race, also came to meet the children.
Thirteen-year-old athletics fan Ben, who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in June 2016, was able to get some top tips from the stars.
Ben’s diagnosis means he has a fast growing tumour in the space behind his right eye. Ben’s reaction to treatment had been good – his hair grew back, his sight improved and he even did close to his best 5km running time. But in May 2017, scans revealed that the tumour was back and growing rapidly. Doctors are currently looking at how best to treat Ben with current aims being to fight the cancer to stop it spreading as well as trying to shrink the tumour so that surgery to remove the eye can be done.
Ben said: “It was awesome to meet some of the athletes in the Anniversary Games. The day was so much fun and the atmosphere in the stadium was amazing.”
As well as launching the Box4Kids initiative, Wells sponsored 18 athletes leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games including Jessica Ennis-Hill, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson is a patron of the charity and regularly helps to host Box4Kids events.