Smiles from having a ball

TONIGHT The Evening Star will host the eleventh Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.The event raises thousands for chosen charity Disability Care Enterprise to help change the lives of children with disabilities.

TONIGHT The Evening Star will host the eleventh Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.

The event raises thousands for chosen charity Disability Care Enterprise to help change the lives of children with disabilities. Today JAMES MARSTON profiles the people the Press Ball will help.

A DAZZLING night is to be held at the Hotel Elizabeth, Copdock tonight, but beyond the fun, the black ties and posh frocks, lives will be changed.

Proceeds go to the charity Disability Care Enterprise which works to enable disabled people across Suffolk.

The charity, launched in 1988 gives grants of up to £100,000 a year to support local disabled people, by helping them get more mobile and improving their quality of life.

Project director Carolyne Morey, said: “The Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball is the main fundraising event for Disability Care Enterprise. Every penny raised we spend in improving the lives of disabled people in Suffolk.

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“This often involves expensive equipment but it means so much to those that benefit from the money raised by the Press Ball. Thanks to the Press Ball we can really change people's lives.”

Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “It's hard to believe that the first Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball was now a decade ago. Back in 1997, when we were just starting out, we raised £3,000. But we had no idea the event would develop into the evening it has now become. To date the Press Ball has raised a whopping £257,000 for chosen charity Disability Care Enterprise.

“This year promises to be one the best Press Ball's ever but behind the glamour and sophistication of one of Suffolk's best parties the Press Ball has a serious side. Who cannot fail to be moved by the work of DCE? To see how our efforts make such as difference is a moving and humbling experience.”

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Find out how much is raised, in Saturday's Evening Star.

Names: Michael & Andrew Smith

Age: 19 and 23

Live: Ipswich

Condition: Both Michael and Andrew suffer with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and are both electric wheelchair users and unable to stand or walk.

Both are dependent on their mother to wash, dress, and feed them. Both are keen football fans and would love to play football together in their wheelchairs.

Equipment: To be helped with the purchase of two 'striker B' electric wheelchair attachments, with electric button controls - £3,300.

What it will mean: The equipment provided by DCE will enable them to play together and enjoy football as other young men do.

Name: Jesse Stableford

Age: 10

Lives: Sudbury

Condition: Jesse has Down's Syndrome. The effects of Down's syndrome are physical, mental and emotional.

She has severely delayed learning disability, causing her to be both vulnerable and rigid in behaviour. It restricts her development in independent living, and limits her social and verbal integration in the wider community. Physically and mentally, she tires very easily which limits her mobility.

Equipment: To be helped with the purchase of a specialised buggy - £650.

What it will mean: It will enable Jesse and her family to access more activities together.

The family enjoy walking in the countryside and fun runs etc, which are often off road and inaccessible to them due to Jesse's needs.

Name: Louisa Cadman

Age: 7

Lives: Witnesham

Condition: Lousia has severe Autism and severe learning disabilities. She has a communication disorder, and gets anxious and panicky if faced with change. She has no sense of danger and needs to be supervised at all times to maintain her safety. She could develop further, if provided with the correct tools.

Equipment: To be helped with the purchase of a computer - £500.

What it will mean: Louisa loves her computer at school. She benefits from her time on the computer as it is helping her learn. She would benefit from a normal computer (not a touch screen as in school) as she has the cognitive ability to use this, and can use a mouse.

Name: Macey Braddick

Age 4

Lives: Stowmarket

Condition: Macey has physical deformities in hands and feet and also problems with muscles and balance.

Macey has a physical disability and lacks motor skills, balance and speech. He has problems with his bones and muscles and his hand is deformed and has no bone in his toes and fingers. One leg is longer than the other.

Equipment: To be helped with the purchase of a suitable bike - £160.

What it will mean: Macey would like a bike he can ride without causing him discomfort or pain in his legs. It will also give him some confidence and will allow him to join in with friends.

Name: Corey Wade

Age: 4

Lives: Stowupland

Condition: Corey suffers from developmental delay and speech delay. There is no diagnosis yet and he is undergoing further assessment.

Corey's ability to communicate effectively is compromised due to his significant speech difficulties and his lack of understanding. He has ongoing physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and behavioural support to provide therapy regarding phobias that Corey has about animals.

Equipment: To facilitate communication for Corey - he will be able to access specific software designed to support speech development. To be helped with the purchase of a computer - £572.

What it will mean: The computer will help Corey communicate. He will be able to access specific software designed to support speech development.

Name: Joshua Margereson

Age: 15

Lives: Ipswich

Condition: Joshua sufferes from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and scoliosis.

DMD is a progressive and life limiting condition and Joshua is now very severely disabled. He can't move his legs or raise his arms and his hands are becoming weaker.

He recently had a major spinal operation and is waiting for an operation on his left foot. Josh rarely complains, but it is becoming much harder for him to be occupied and entertained as he is able to do very little physically. He also becomes very tired during the day.

Equipment: To be helped with the purchase of a computer with specialised hardware - £680.

What it will mean:

Joshua's old laptop is unreliable and very difficult for him to use physically. A computer would mean that a world would open up to Josh again. He could do so many things - email friends and family, use the internet for schoolwork and to follow his interests, play computer games, store music and photos.

1997-£3,000

1998-£6,000

1999-£21,000

2000-£35,000

2001-£33,000

2002-£40,000

2003-£26,000

2004-£31,000

2005-£22,000

2006-£40,000

2007 -?

Total so far-£257,000

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