| 14/12/2004 – Fundraisers home in on cash target for Anthony |
Uri Geller: lends his support to raise cash for medical treatment
FESTIVE fundraisers have given a stricken young man in one of the world’s poorest countries 10,000 reasons to smile this Christmas.
Charity Medical Assistance Sierra Leone (MASL), based in Send Road, off Gosbrook Road in Caversham, has raised more than £10,000 to help buy vital hospital treatment for 20-year-old Anthony McCarthy.
Anthony suffers from a rare condition that leaves him doubly incontinent.
While babies in Europe born with the condition are treated in the first few months, the limited medical facilities in Sierra Leone have meant Anthony is unable to get help and unable to lead a normal life.
The student could receive treatment in the UK, but fundraisers need £20,000 to pay for the four
Last week, MASL and members of Reading’s Sierra Leone community were joined by Sonning spoon bender Uri Geller at a fundraising feast
at RISC in London Street, raising £2,000 on the night.
They had already raised thousands of pounds with various events over the last year, but with a personal pledge of another £2,000 from
Mr Geller, the fund total has now soared to more than £10,000.
They now hope that Anthony will be able to travel to the UK for initial tests in the New Year.
Mr Geller, who also donated a personally designed pottery plate as the main raffle prize on the night, said: “This is a very worthy cause.
“I intend to make an additional contribution of £2,000 towards Anthony’s operation when he is ready for treatment.”
For the past seven years research by the United Nations Development Programme has found Sierra Leone to be the poorest country in the world.
Sarah Snow, co-ordinator and trustee of MASL, was touched by Anthony’s case when she worked in Sierra Leone as a project worker, but when the country was plunged into civil war in 1995, it became impossible to arrange his treatment.
“Even for people born in this country this would be a challenging and complicated case,” she said.
“We have identified a consultant at the Middlesex Hospital, London, who is an expert in Anthony’s condition.
“The total cost of the three to four operations required is £20,000. So far we have raised more than £10,000 towards the cost through fundraising meals, parties, and performances.
“In the long term we hope to help other people who can’t get help in Sierra Leone.”
Members of the Reading Sierra Leone and Friends Association donated the food for last week’s feast.
Prizes were also donated by local branches of John Lewis and Tesco, and Crawley-based Kevin McPhillips Travel has already offered to pay Anthony’s flight costs.
For more details about Medical Assistance Sierra Leone or to make a donation, call (0118) 948 1814 or you can send an email to office@