Family Fund will be taking to the water with 36 other Dragon Boats to race for victory in the annual York Dragon Boat Race on 12 September. We'll be raising money to support our work with seriously ill and disabled children in Yorkshire and across the UK, with a team of staff from all across the charity taking part. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of event organisers, York Rotary Club, which was founded in 1921, and the event returns after being cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions in 2020.

Who does our support help?

The Fox family, who live in York, received support from Family Fund for their three-year-old son, Dylan, who has a rare condition called Angelman’s syndrome. Kate, Dylan’s mum, explains the additional care needs her son has due to his physical and learning disabilities: “Dylan will be unlikely to talk and may not walk independently, needing a wheelchair. He has dozens of appointments for various aspects of his condition.”

“In terms of the cost of raising Dylan compared to a child without disabilities, it mounts up very quickly. My husband has become his full time carer, which means we are one salary down. He needs specialist food and toys and items such as his travel bed. Dylan needed a specialist travel bed that he can’t fall or move out of during the night. The only suitable bed cost around £400 – which Family Fund mainly funded.”

“They also provided a grant for an iPad which is fantastic – it’s got specialist communication software, and sensory games which are great for a bit of relaxation time, or as an incentive for him to use his standing frame which is good for his strength and his bowel movements.”

CEO of Family Fund, Cheryl Ward, said: “Children like Dylan are at the absolute heart of what Family Fund does – making grants which enhance the lives, opportunities and freedom of disabled and seriously ill children. His story represents one of the 10,000 children we support every year in Yorkshire alone.”

“Dragon Boat is a fantastic event not just for raising vital funds but for the community and local organisations supporting people to come together.”

Find out more about the York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge

The York Rotary Dragon Boat Challenge has been held annually since 2003 and takes place on the River Ouse between Scarborough Bridge and Lendal Bridge. The race begins at 10:00am with the Grand Final taking place at around 4:00pm. The public are invited to watch from the North Bank of the river, or from the bridges.

You can read more here: York Dragon Boat Race 

Over the past 18 years the cumulative amount raised by the York Rotary Club for local charities is over £1.2 million.  

Supporting Family Fund

You can find out more about how to support Family Fund here: Get Involved 

A long version of this story was featured in the 1 September print edition of The Yorkshire Post and an online version too, which you can read here: 'The rare condition that means a York boy can never tell his mum he loves her.'