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‘Mindblowing’ milestones keep Kerry Thorpe’s legacy alive as brave Aaron Kendall, who has cystic fibrosis, meets Chelsea hero Didier Drogba

PUBLISHED: 16:09 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:09 27 October 2014

Chelsea star striker Didier Drogba and 14-year-old Aaron Kendall

Chelsea star striker Didier Drogba and 14-year-old Aaron Kendall

Archant

It is a testament to her memory and we are proud to continue that.

The team behind the Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust: (l-r) Megan Nelli, Joshua Nelli, Aaron Kendall (the first youngster to have a 'wish' granted), Jacqui Brett. Josh Nelli has been nominated in the Unsung Hero of the Year category. The team behind the Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust: (l-r) Megan Nelli, Joshua Nelli, Aaron Kendall (the first youngster to have a 'wish' granted), Jacqui Brett. Josh Nelli has been nominated in the Unsung Hero of the Year category.

Those were the sentiments of the team behind the Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust today as the charity celebrates two milestones – raising more than £10,000 and granting a wish to a teenager with cystic fibrosis.

The trust was set up following Kerry’s death in March with the modest aim of raising awareness of the condition, but since then it has grown an army of dedicated fundraisers and supporters.

Trust chairman Joshua Nelli, Kerry’s fiance, believes the backing the group receives is down to her work and dedication in raising awareness of the condition.

“It is mind blowing,” said the 26-year-old.

Kerry Thorpe with fiance Josh Nelli Kerry Thorpe with fiance Josh Nelli

“We never really initially set this up to make money for a specific cause as such, our main focus was to carry on Kerry’s good work and to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis.

“It is testament to the hard work that Kerry put in. We say it was hard work but she did it without realising, just by being who she was and being free and open to talk about her condition.

“She had so many people that followed her story and admired and respected her, as we all did. It is just testament to the hard work she did and we are proud to be able to continue that in her memory.”

The aim of the Trust now is to raise funds to grant wishes to people in Suffolk between the ages of nine and 16 who suffer from cystic fibrosis.

And brave 14-year-old Aaron Kendall, of Felixstowe, became the first youngster to have been granted a wish through the Kerry Alex Thorpe Trust when meeting his Chelsea football heroes at their training ground last Thursday.

He chatted with manager Jose Mourinho – which he joked was “scary” – and posed for a picture with star striker, and his favourite player, Didier Drogba.

He came back home with his shirt covered with signatures and was “thrilled to pieces”, his mum Gayle Pallant said.

“He absolutely loved it,” she said, before praising the Trust.

“I believe what they have started is wonderful news for children. It gives them the chance to fulfil their dreams and give them and us good memories, instead of all the horribly bad ones of being stuck in hospital.”

Aaron, who also loves swimming, running, badminton and riding his bike, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was around three weeks old.

One of his three sisters, Chloe Kendall, died at the age of 16 in March 2011 after living with cystic fibrosis all her life.

Ms Pallant, 41, said Aaron does have some “low days” but said he is determined to live a positive and fulfilled life.

She said: “As there is no cure, we don’t know how long we are going to have with him. He has regular visits to the hospital and has physio and has inhalers.

“Cystic fibrosis to him is like a death sentence, but he does not let it rule him. It has not beaten him just yet, and things like (meeting the Chelsea footballers) lift his spirits.

“We try not to treat him as special, but when things come along like that you have got to grab them.”

Aaron said meeting the players was the best day of his life. He said: “It was awesome. I met my favourite player Didier Drogba and others like John Terry.”

He is also enjoying his new Xbox console, which was provided by the Trust as part of his wish.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, the Trust is determined to grant more wishes and it is hoped that one day that will be on offer to all children with cystic fibrosis in Suffolk.

For more information about the charity, visit www.kerryalexthorpetrust.org.uk

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