Andover Events Local News

Fun day event helps understanding of rare disease

Claire, Abel and Tony Noakes at Abelfest 2017
Claire, Abel and Tony Noakes at Abelfest 2017

A charity fundraising event in Andover got off to a flying start yesterday with a balloon release.

The balloons were released by Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Carl Borg-Neal at Abelfest, an annual family fun day, set up by local charity, The Abel Foundation which supports children with a rare disease.

The current Mayor and past Mayors Karen Hamilton and Jim Neal were present throughout the event as hundreds of balloons purchased by customers and visitors of host venue The Rockhouse on London Road were sent skyward.

During the event Cllr Hamilton was presented with the first Abel’s Hero Medal for her support and fundraising activities for the charity during her mayoral year.

Proceeds from the day which included food, face-painting and live music will go to help children with Mitochondrial Disease, a genetic disorder which causes debilitating physical disabilities with symptoms like muscle weakness, pain and seizures and organ failure. There is no known cure for ‘Mito’.

The charity was set up by Rockhouse owner Tony Noakes and wife Claire whose 3-year old son Abel was diagnosed with the disease after his birth. Tony and Claire say when their son was born there was a lack of understanding of Abel’s condition by medical professionals.

Abel was only allowed to go home aged 9 months and today still spends significant amounts of time in Winchester hospital.

Tony says, “Our aim is to create a 24 hour support network via phone, email and text and be on hand to help people when they need support. We aspire to provide onsite counsellors for hospitals and financial aid to those needing equipment and respite.”

Tony and Claire are currently seeking planning permission to adapt their property in Barton Stacey to enable a better environment for their son. Love Andover understands that a neighbour is preventing their application from proceeding.

A lack of awareness and understanding of the disease and difficulties establishing a diagnosis means it’s hard for patients to obtain medical care, healthcare support or disability services.

The Rockhouse frequently holds fundraising events and to raise money for the charity and patrons are asked to follow The Abel Foundation on Facebook to be kept up-to-date.

Alternatively, you may make a donation online here.

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