The local community will once again throw their support behind the Ryan Smith Foundation, as the inaugural Winter Ball will take place next Saturday, (January, 25).
Tickets for the ball have now sold out but local people and businesses will still ‘have a ball’ at the formal affair, which has a black and yellow theme.
The event, in aid of Ryan and the safer cycling campaign, headed by his family, will even have that special celebrity sparkle as John Hartson, more akin to ‘heading a ball’ on a football pitch will be a special guest.
Former Arsenal, Celtic and Welsh international footballer, Hartson, has endorsed the campaign from its early stages and has made a number of visits to Ryan’s bedside to lend his support.
Ryan is currently receiving treatment at a specialist hospital in Tadworth, Surrey, where he will remain until further decisions are made, on May 25, as he continues on his road to recovery.
Paramedic father mark, along with his family, share the 400-mile trip with shuttle-runs to visit Ryan at Tadworth.
Father Mark, along with a team of volunteers, also makes visits to local schools, to spread Ryan’s story and cycle safety awareness for the foundation,
Most recently, The Giles Academy, in Old Leake, near Boston, who mark said ‘had been incredibly supportive’, raised nearly £500 for the foundation.
A recent incident, involving head boy Cael Atkin-Palmer, vindicated the need for Mark to raise awareness of cycle safety; as the young boy, who fell backward whilst on a bicycle, escaped injury when the helmet he was wearing took the blow and shattered.
“It just goes to show how vital a piece of equipment [a helmet] is,” said Mark.
“And there was no admission required to A&E,” he added.
In his recovery, Mark explained that Ryan has become more vocal of late, expressing his wants, needs and his strength is slowly returning to his body; in particular on his right side. There have also been encouraging signs of minimal left-sided activity.
Ryan’s oral muscles are said to be strengthening, making it easier for Ryan to feed himself independently and now the teen has started to put weight back on, as his appetite increases but the ‘constant hunger’ he has been experiencing remains.
Despite these welcome improvements and developments, There is also a downside to Ryan’s current condition.
“As he becomes more alert, depression and awareness of what’s happened has become more apparent,” said Mark.
By working closely with the psychologists at Tadworth, Ryan’s family and friends are trying to keep Ryan’s spirits up.
“At this moment in time, Ryan’s extremely unhappy and depressed, but as more physicality returns, he should improve, you have to remember that this was a lad who could previously run 100 metres in about 11 and a half seconds,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Ryan Smith Foundation has made it aware that although the Winter Ball tickets have completely sold out, those wishing to take part in the auction and raffles still can.
If anyone would like to bid for items, they should visit the foundation’s main Facebook page and send a private message, with a contact number. The bid will be recorded and if successful, contact made, bids will be accepted until midday, January, 24.
Similarly, those who wish to donate items are still welcome.
“Local businesses have been amazing, there’s too many to mention, so I’d like to thank everyone,” said Mark.