WWE announces the first U.K. Community Champions
WWE is supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign in the U.K. and together launched a national search for WWE Community Champions.
More than 70,000 babies, children and adults in the U.K. have muscular dystrophy or a related muscle-wasting condition of which there are 60 different types.
WWE searched for kids and young people younger than 30 who are supporting someone with a muscle disease or are volunteers and/or fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to give them a very special reward.
After wading through a massive list of entries, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign selected regional WWE Community Champions and one National Champion. Each one received:
- A pair of tickets to the WrestleMania Revenge tour in the U.K. in April 2011
- A replica WWE Championship
- A WWE T-shirt
- A certificate of recognition
Plus, the lucky National Community Champion met Triple H at the O2 Arena before the SmackDown live event on April 19.
“It’s an honor to partner with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign to help raise awareness for those affected by debilitating muscle diseases," said Triple H, an ambassador for the WWE Community Champions campaign. "I am truly inspired by the perseverance the adults and kids demonstrate every day in overcoming the challenges of muscular dystrophy. With this campaign we hope to encourage young people all across the UK to volunteer and become WWE Community Champions.”
Return to WWE.com to find out how you or one of your friends could become a U.K. WWE Community Champion when the next search is launched this summer.
For more information on the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, visit muscular-dystrophy.org.
Learn more about the personal triumphs and dedication of each of the UK Champions:
Laura Bizzey: WWE Community Champion for the East of England
Laura, 14, is the first U.K. National WWE Community Champion.
Lizzy, who is from Snape in Suffolk, has minicore (multicore) myopathy. She is a truly exceptional fundraiser, raising more than £25,000. She has organized a range of fundraising events and awareness days at her school and in her local community, including stalls at her local garden center.
Last year she took part in the Just Walk event for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and walked a challenging 10 kilometers to raise more than £1,500 for the charity.
“I can’t tell you how proud and elated I felt when I crossed the finish line with my friends at the end of the walk and the end of a very long day for me,” Laura said after completing the walk last year.
Despite the challenge, Laura has signed up to take part in this year’s Just Walk event. So far she has raised £1,300 and is set to beat her fundraising total from last year.
Laura has also been an active supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign through taking part in muscle group meetings (regional campaigning groups that address poor services and gaps in care), attending events and promoting the charity at every opportunity.
She was delighted to be chosen as the WWE National Community Champion and described it as “such a thrill to be recognized for all my fundraising efforts and for supporting the charity, while constantly battling with my muscle disease.”
Laura was given tickets to the WrestleMania Revenge tour in London on April 19 and had the opportunity to meet Triple H, which she said was a “fantastic experience.”
Laura has been equally excited about becoming the U.K. National WWE Community Champion.
“I hope that my role will help raise awareness of muscular dystrophy and show people how they can get involved and support the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign,” she said.
Harry Donaghy: WWE Community Champion for Scotland
Harry, 17, was nominated as a WWE Community Champion by his friend Eoghan’s father, Robbie Warner.
Eoghan has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and they have been friends since nursery school. Harry has been a pillar of strength and support for Eoghan and helped influence their peers to accept and include him.
Robbie described Harry as a natural Community Champion who is truly unaware of the influence he brings to other people through his relaxed, caring and down-to-earth approach to life.
When Harry learned he had been chosen as a WWE Community Champion, it came as a huge surprise.
"This is amazing. I can't stress how excited I am and just how grateful I am to WWE for running this program and selecting me,” Harry said.
Kenny Cloke: WWE Community Champion for Northern Ireland
Kenny, 9, from Ballycarry, Ireland, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
In May 2010, Kenny participated in a Walk for Muscles along with 50 other participants and raised an impressive £175 for the charity. Kenny walked three miles, which required a large degree of determination in light of his severe disability, which has led to reduced mobility.
His family joined him on the walk and were concerned that walking one mile over the challenging terrain might be too much, but Kenny’s sheer grit kept him walking to the finish line.
Kenny’s infectious enthusiasm to help in the fight against muscle disease inspired walkers on the day. He told local press just how excited he is to be a WWE Community Champion in the hope of encouraging others to help the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
“It was great to see the WWE Superstars in real life on the WrestleMania Revenge tour; they are all so strong and agile,” Kenny said.
“The lights and music were amazing. We had fantastic seats. It was truly a great experience and I loved it all. I will now continue to support the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and hope to inspire others to do the same.”
Jimi, William and Edward Walsh: WWE Community Champions for Yorkshire
Edward, 6; William, 11; and Jimi 18, are the only siblings to be U.K. WWE Community Champions. Edward has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and all of his family, especially his older brothers William and Jimi, are “Superstars,” according to their mom, Julie.
They both help Edward with his muscle stretches and medication. William also helps him at school, and Jimi encourages Edward to continue to play football, helps correct his posture and helps him stay positive.
All of the boys are massive WWE fans and becoming WWE Community Champions has meant a lot to them.
“The boys love WWE so to become WWE Community Champions was a dream come true for all of us,” Julie explained.
“We’d like to thank WWE for our WrestleMania Revenge tour tickets. We had a fantastic evening and the boys all said the event was totally awesome,” she said. “I hope that through the scheme others will be inspired to get involved and support the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.”
Carl Tilson: WWE Community Champion for the North West England
Carl, 24, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He has been a WWE fan for years and was thrilled to become a WWE Community Champion. He met WWE Diva Trish Stratus some years ago and she inspired him to be determined and believe in himself.
Following a traumatic near-death experience, Carl decided to dedicate himself to campaigning to raise awareness and has risen more than £100,000 for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
“Having been a fan of WWE for years, it’s an honour to be named a WWE Community Champion and be recognised for my campaigning and fundraising,” Carl said. “It’s remarkable to be recognised by the pinnacle of sports-entertainment, an industry that I've grown to love. I am also excited by the opportunity to spread the message about muscular dystrophy to other WWE fans. It means so much to me.”
Carl attended the WrestleMania Revenge Tour at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
“I really enjoyed my night out and the crowd atmosphere was awesome,” Carl said. “Thank you, WWE and all the Superstars and Divas who taught me that you have to work hard and have a positive attitude to succeed.”
Bradley Addison: WWE Community Champion for the Midlands
Bradley, 7, is from Birmingham and has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He was nominated by his mom, Sarah, to be the Midlands’ WWE Community Champion.
Bradley was the face of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s national awareness campaign in 2010, raising awareness of the condition.
Bradley couldn’t wait to see his favorite Superstars and Divas and expressed his gratitude to WWE.
“Thank you for inviting me to the WrestleMania Revenge tour,” Bradley said. “I had a good time watching all the action and my best bit was the tag team match with John Cena & Sin Cara vs. The Mi. They are my favorite Superstars!”
Bradley’s family and friends have established a fundraising committee called “The Friends of Bradley & Cameron” and have exciting plans to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. They are thrilled by Bradley’s selection and think that the WWE Community Champions initiative will help to encourage people to get give money and time.
Stephen Liney: WWE Community Champion for London
Stephen, 24, is the WWE Community Champion from Aylesbury and is a dedicated fundraiser and volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. He has Becker muscular dystrophy and has been an active member of the “Trailblazers” young campaigners’ network since 2008, recently becoming the chair of the South East regional group.
In 2010, Stephen organised a “Question of Support” quiz night raising £150. In December, he took on the challenge of putting together a fundraising committee for the Aylesbury Vale area and has ambitious fundraising plans. So far the committee have organized several events, including a fundraising movie theme night in their local pub and a fundraising and awareness stall at their town’s May Day fete.
“I am overwhelmed to have been nominated for this award and also to be part of the initiative. This is a great way to encourage young people to get involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign,” Stephen said.
Stephen is going to continue his work with the “Trailblazers” and is recruiting new committee members for his Aylesbury fundraising committee.
Nick Bryant: WWE Community Champion for the South West
Nick, 25, joined the Bristol and Bath fundraising team in the summer of 2010 at the request of his best friend, Khurm, whose little brother has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Nick has been named a WWE Community Champion because of his overwhelming dedication to the team, taking part in collections, securing support from local companies and even signing up his friends and family to volunteer and participate in events.
Nick was really thrilled to become a WWE Community Champion.
“I have really enjoyed helping with so many different fundraising events. Being acknowledged for my contribution was a real honour and I feel really proud to be making a difference,” Nick explained. “I’m a big WWE fan, so it was really exciting to get the chance to attend an event on behalf of the charity.”