A snowsport lover was granted the wish of a lifetime after his homecare provider, Right at Home UK, teamed up with Olympic commentator and ex-professional snowboarder, Ed Leigh, to arrange a surprise visit from the Ski Sunday presenter at a specially adapted skiing session.
David Richardson, 49 from Stansted Mountfitchet, is an avid snowsport fan but hadn’t skied in over fourteen years, instead remaining a dedicated viewer of Ski Sunday where he watched his hero Ed Leigh commentate on snowsport around the world.
David was told by his caregivers at Right at Home Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree, that they had arranged for him to attend a bi-skiing session at his local indoor snow centre in Hemel Hempstead, where he would be guided down the slopes using adapted skis designed for people with limited or no use of their legs.
But after a few trips down the slopes, David was amazed to be met by Ed Leigh himself, who took a break from commentating on the Winter Paralympics and flew in from Switzerland to join David for the once-in-a-lifetime session – with Ed even trying bi-skis for the very first time.
The day was arranged as part of Right at Home UK’s tin-full of wishes campaign, which encourages CareGivers to nominate homecare Clients who deserve to have a once-in-a-lifetime wish granted.
David was nominated by his caregiver who wanted to recognise his positive outlook and determination to continue his hobbies of skiing, rock climbing and swimming despite the physical challenges he faces – making him an inspiration for his carers.
A whole community came together to make David’s wish come true. Instructors, Peter Thorpe and James Merrey, from Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK) delivered the bi-skiing session and brought the specially adapted equipment with them. The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead also donated the use of their slopes and lift passes for the special day.
WATCH HOW THE SURPRISE DAY WENT:
Reflecting on the experience, David Richardson said: “I’ve loved watching Ed Leigh’s reporting ever since I saw him interview a girl with autism. He was the first sports presenter I watched interview someone living with a disability and treat it as secondary to who they really were as a person.
“I’ve no words to describe how happy I am to have shared this with him. I love skiing because it makes me feel free. Going down a slope, my body isn’t getting in the way of me doing what I want to do. The whole experience made me feel like me, just me without a disability, so I would like to thank everyone who made my wish come true.”
Ed Leigh, Olympic commentator and ex-professional snowboarder said: “It’s incredibly humbling to be called someone’s hero. I’m honoured that David could have had any wish and he asked to meet me.
“I have many career highlights, but this experience is unforgettable. When I was asked to do this, there was no way I couldn’t come to meet him – how could anyone pass up the opportunity to make someone’s dream come true? Probably the most inspirational thing about David is that he refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer! We can all learn a lot from David.”
Liza Bolden, Registered Manager at Right at Home Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree said: “All of us at Right at Home are proud to be part of such a rewarding campaign. We’re grateful to everyone who came together to help make David’s wish come true, from our National Office Right at Home UK, who organised the surprise, the caregivers who nominated him, and of course Ed Leigh, Disability Snowsport UK and the Snow Centre.
“We’re even prouder to be a part of David’s journey. Every caregiver who works with him is inspired by his ambition to achieve each and every one of his dreams. David does absolutely everything he puts his mind to, and he has taught me that there is nothing we can’t do if we just believe we can. We are so proud of him for always wanting to do more and we are delighted to have played a part in making his dream come true.”
David’s wish is the third to be granted as part of Right at Home’s 10-Year Anniversary campaign – nicknamed a ‘tin-full of wishes’ for the traditional anniversary gift – to celebrate a decade of making a difference to their Clients’ lives by awarding 10 wishes to 10 lucky Clients in 2022.