Space daredevil Felix Baumgartner shows support for Luca campaign

HELPING HAND: Felix Baumgartner shows his support for the For Luca campaign shortly after his jump from the edge of space

SUPPORT: Brave Luca Williams

SPACE JUMPER: Felix Baumgartner about to step out of his capsule

OUT OF THIS WORLD: Felix Baumgartner jumps out of the capsule

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

DAREDEVIL Felix Baumgartner is the latest celebrity to add his support to the For Luca campaign as the fund reaches £149,000.

The campaign was launched around six months ago with a target of £1.5 million to help three-year-old Luca Williams, who was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia in January.

Luca’s parents Mo Syed and Sian Williams, from Newport, wanted to raise the money, which is the expected lifetime cost of prosthetics for Luca, after he lost his lower legs and all of his tissue, some muscle and skin below his hips and skin, some tissue and muscle across his arms and shoulders.

The family received good wishes from across the world, with Wales rugby players Ryan Jones and Leigh Halfpenny, rock star Gene Simmons and comedian Rhod Gilbert all raising their hand For Luca.

Risca cameraman Dai Baker even managed to get Barack Obama involved, with a picture taken at the White House.

Now space jumper Felix Baumgartner – who jumped from more than 24 miles above earth, becoming the first man to break the speed of sound in a freefall, before releasing his parachute – is the latest celebrity to show his support.

Friends, family and the local community have organised lots of fundraising events over the last few months, from football tournaments and sponsored walks, to cycle rides and even ‘blue beards’.

The For Luca campaign has now joined forces with The Tree of Hope Children’s Charity, based in East Sussex, to help with future fundraising.

Tree of Hope is a national charity which helps families fundraise, with the money raised going specifically to those children. Jeremy Marris, the charity’s chief executive, said Tree of Hope has been running for 18 years and said they suggest challenges and fundraising ideas for people to take up.

Mr Marris said Luca’s father contacted them a few weeks ago about getting their support and a new Just Giving page went live in the last few days.

He said money raised will go through this Just Giving page, with donations in the form of cash and cheques included on the page as ‘offline donations’.

The new Just Giving page shows that £149,000 has been raised for Luca in ‘offline donations’ which is thought to be money raised since the campaign was set up and before Tree of Hope became involved. Mr Marris said Tree Tops is currently helping around ten children in the South Wales area and said the support there has been “magnificent”.

For more information, see www.justgiving.com/for luca and www.treeofhope.org.uk

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