Last month, Team Torricelli took on the Superhero Tri to raise money and say thank you to Chestnut Tree House for their support over the last 16 years. The family team included 20-year-old Rebecca Torricelli, commonly known as Becca, who was one of the first children to receive care from Chestnut Tree House, when the hospice opened 16 years ago.
Becca has spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that affects 1 in 8,000 people. Her condition affects her mobility, swallowing and respiratory system and she has never walked or crawled; she has always been in a wheelchair. When Chestnut Tree House first opened its doors in 2003, five-year-old Becca was one of the first children to receive their care and support.
“Before Chestnut Tree House there was nowhere for struggling families to turn, I can’t put into words what an amazing place it is” says Becca.
The Torricellis are a very sporty family and regularly take part in fundraising events for Chestnut Tree House, from cycling challenges to muddy obstacle courses. However, Becca is often restricted to watching her family and cheering them on from the side-lines due to her condition.
However, on Saturday 17 August everyday superhero Becca Torricelli was joined by her family of sidekicks, including dog Casey, to form Team Torricelli at the Superhero Tri. Made up of a 400m swim, 10km cycle and 2.5km run, the Superhero Tri is part of the Superhero Series powered by MARVEL – the UK’s one and only disability sports series for the everyday superhero, where people with disabilities don’t have to worry about cut-off times or equipment restrictions.
“We had such an emotional day at the Superhero Tri”, Nicky Torricelli, mother of Becca, says. “Since visiting Chestnut Tree House in 2003 we have used many of their services – the community nursing team, hydrotherapy pool, counselling services, and many more. The charity is very close to our hearts and they have provided amazing support to us over the years.
“That is why we wanted to take part in the Superhero Tri. We want to raise money and awareness of the amazing services offered by Chestnut Tree House. This event was perfect for us as we are a sporty family and it meant so much to us that we could all participate together… even the dog!”
Team Torricelli have currently raised £700 from their Superhero adventures, smashing their original £500 target. “We are incredibly grateful to Becca and her family for their support, and it’s wonderful that they’ve been able to take part in this challenge together as a family” says Sarah Colbourne, Head of Fundraising at Chestnut Tree House. “To put their fundraising into perspective, we need to raise £285 every hour to pay for all our specialist care services, both at the House and in families’ own homes, so support like this is invaluable. Team Torricelli have raised enough to pay for two and half hours of care by taking part in the Superhero Tri, which is fantastic.”
Becca, everyday Superhero and leader of Team Torricelli, says “In a world that is full of obstacles and uncertainty, it is rare but imperative to find somewhere of sanctuary. Where you can escape, or if not escape, forget, most of your worries and breathe a sigh of relief that you have somewhere to go in your hour of need. And that’s what Chestnut is like for me and my family”.
Chestnut Tree House provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this service is over £4 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 6% central government funding so relies on the generosity and support of the community to continue providing vital care to local children and families.
For the everyday superheroes. For the super sidekicks. For the Now.