More than £3,000 raised as Hitchin hosts The Ataxian UK film premiere
PUBLISHED: 11:40 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:40 05 September 2018
Stars including Hugh Dennis were in Hitchin for the UK premiere of a feature-length documentary about an incurable disease affecting a local family.
The Queen Mother Theatre hosted Saturday night’s screening The Ataxian, about a long-distance cyclist with Friedreich’s ataxia – with comedian Hugh Dennis just one of the famous names on the guest list.
Also there were Bob Barrett from Holby City, actress Rebecca Charles, Hedli Niklaus of The Archers, Sally Bretton from Not Going Out, and James Moore from Emmerdale.
The moving film follows Kyle Bryant as he and three friends take on the Race Across America, from California to Maryland – inspiring others while covering 3,000 miles in nine days.
More than £3,000 was raised at the premiere to support ataxia research, with more money still coming in.
The premiere was organised along with charity Ataxia UK by a Hitchin family whose daughter lives with ataxia. They wish to remain anonymous.
The girl’s mother told the Comet: “It was an emotional evening but a real success. Over 100 people now know a lot more about ataxia, the disease that no-one’s ever heard of.
“The special guests were more than happy to chat and take photos with people. Bob Barrett went down a storm as he was warmth personified.
“After a glass of bubbly and the chance to mingle, it was time to watch the film. Several families stricken with ataxia had made the journey from the Midlands and London, as they had longed to see the film for some time.
“Many of the audience were in tears at the end, but we were pleased that over 100 people were made aware of the condition and the need for vital research to find a cure.”
She added: “We are determined to carry on fundraising for Ataxia UK, who are part of 19 ongoing research projects worldwide.
“It’s a race against time for us. As our daughter’s abilities continue to be lost, we hope that a cure or treatment will be found in time for her and all who suffer from this cruel disease.”
Some 10,500 people live with ataxia in the UK, of whom 500 are children.
Ataxia UK receives no government funding. If you’d like to make a donation, have a look at www.ataxia.org.uk/donate-01.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Comet. Click the link in the orange box above for details.