Harrogate doctor's 24 hour danceathon to help brave Felix

Dr Sarah Craven, East Parade Surgery.
Dr Sarah Craven, East Parade Surgery.

Many of us know Sarah Craven as a friendly and helpful doctor and partner at East Parade Surgery - but what patients might not know is she is about to take on the challenge of dancing continuously for 24 hours.

Dr Craven aims to raise £10,000 to help six-year-old Felix Williams from Harrogate, who lives with a life-limiting neurological condition. The money would make it possible for Felix to continue specialised rehabilitation therapy in Canada, which has already made a massive difference to his life.

The danceathon will be held at Cardale Park's Performax gym from October 14 at 10am, finishing at the same time the next day. A whole host of dance teachers covering everything from street dance, ballet and tap, to ballroom and salsa, will be leading a changing group of friends, family, and supporters of the challenge throughout the 24 hours. There will also be a children's disco.

Moved to fundraise for Felix after getting to know him through his sisters who go to the same school as her daughter, Dr Craven said: “The Canadian therapy has made a world of difference to Felix, but it is not a one-off solution.

"Felix will need to visit Health in Motion again next year to make more progress with his physical strength and flexibility. This will help with fundamental developments such as head strength which affects his speech and swallowing. As this improves he will be able to eat normal food without choking.

“Further therapy will boost his general health, improve his chances in education and, ultimately, in living independently when he is older. The £10,000 I am targeting will pay for next year’s treatment."

Keen to get as many people joining in with the dancing and fundraising as possible, Dr Craven said: "Through the day it will be Felix and his family at the top of my list as a motivator, but also having my family and friends there to support me will be great.

"Seeing new faces, and having more and more people come in as the time goes on, will really help to refresh me. I think the middle of the night will be the hardest time for me.

"I will need some high energy songs through the night. I might put a few requests in for Michael Jackson and disco classics. Everybody who knows me knows that I'm the first person and the last person on the dance floor every time, and my friends said that if there is one person in this town who can do this, it's me.

"I am doing a lot of training for it - I want to be really fit for it so that I don't crash out."

Hugely grateful for the support that the Harrogate community has already given to Felix in rallying together to help fund the treatment so far, his mum Sarah, said: “The month of treatment at Health in Motion has produced massive changes. Felix can now sit unsupported for a while, he can move his arms, his circulation has improved, his seizures have stopped and his sleep has improved.

"The change in my wonderful boy is astounding. Unsurprisingly, Felix is pleased with himself and excited about making more progress at home as we continue with the many exercises we have learned. My family can’t thank enough those who made this life-changing trip possible.”

To sponsor Dr Craven, visit her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/drsarahcraven

She is also looking for more sponsors to join Adage Dance of Harrogate, Enid Taylor Printing, and Myroo Skincare of Harrogate in backing the challenge.