Meet the WWE 2012 U.K. Community Champions
The WWE 2012 U.K. Community Champions have been announced!
WWE teamed up with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign for a second consecutive year to search the United Kingdom. for WWE Community Champions.
Discover the personal triumphs and dedication of each Champion.
WWE fan David O’Connor, 25, has been giving up two days a week to volunteer at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s London head office for more than a year, also supporting the charity at numerous events and getting involved with fundraising activities. He was named a WWE Community Champion after being nominated for his tireless efforts to support all those affected by muscular dystrophy.
David has become involved with every aspect of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s work, from rolling up his sleeves in the office to cheering on the charity’s runners at the London Marathon.
"I'm a big WWE fan and I am delighted to be the WWE Community Champion for London," David said. "It’s been fantastic volunteering for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and meeting so many great people along the way. I’ve found the whole experience so much fun."
Jack Franklin, 15, who has the severe muscle-wasting condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy, wrote about his life for what became the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s most successful charity appeal ever. Jack was announced as a WWE Community Champion after being nominated for raising awareness about muscular dystrophy and showing people that having Duchenne does not have to stop young people from living life to the full.
Jack’s positive outlook and vitality impressed the public so much that they donated more than £17,500 toward support and equipment for people affected by muscular dystrophy and research into the first treatment for the conditions.
"I love WWE, and was so excited when my mum told me I had been chosen as a Community Champion, and would have the chance to see the WWE live," Jack said. "It makes me feel very proud. I really do love living my life to the full. If a treatment could be found for muscular dystrophy, I know that would make my life and that of everyone else living with Duchenne a lot better."
Maggy Simpson, 25, lost her brother Ashley Kirkham to the severe muscle-wasting condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was just 27 years old. She was named a WWE Community Champion after being nominated for her tireless efforts to raise funds for research into treatments for muscular dystrophy and support for families affected.
WWE fan Maggie has endured 24 hours on the Manchester Big Wheel, competed in a dragon boat race and spent hours collecting change in all weathers to generate funds. She has helped other fundraisers and volunteers too, working with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s North Manchester fundraising group.
"I was really shocked, but very happy and honored to be nominated as WWE Community Champion for the North West," Maggie said. "My brother, Ashley, loved WWE and was the one who got me interested in wrestling. I know Ashley would be really proud of me. I think it's fantastic that WWE are supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign; it's such a big organization and the awareness it will bring will be amazing.“
Murray Field, 14, has campaigned alongside mom, Jane, and dad, Mark, to give thousands of people living with muscular dystrophy in the West Midlands better care, helping to secure £400,000 of funding toward specialist health workers. Murray, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was announced as a WWE Community Champion after being nominated for the "incredible contribution" he and his family have made to helping others across the region.
Murray has travelled to Parliament several times to appeal to MPs and help fight for better care. Together Murray, Jane and Mark have also raised thousands of pounds toward supporting people with muscular dystrophy through their Midlands-based charity, Murray’s Muscles.
"I’m really excited about being a WWE Community Champion," Murray said. "Having the chance to get the Superstars' autographs was brilliant, but the best thing was watching it with my dad. I think it is important for people to know that although a person’s muscles may be weak, their heart and spirit can be very strong. “
Sean Fitzsimons, 27, campaigns on social issues affecting young disabled people and has helped push forward a major inquiry into improving specialist health care for people with muscular dystrophy in Northern Ireland. Sean, who is disabled due to a muscle-wasting condition, was announced as a WWE Community Champion after being nominated for the "incredible work" he has done raising awareness about muscular dystrophy and the challenges for young people living with these conditions.
WWE fan Sean has not only fought alongside the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign at Stormont for better healthcare for the 2,000 people in Northern Ireland living with muscle-wasting conditions, but has also been a leading member of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers. Through the 400-strong young campaigners’ group, Sean has spoken out on issues affecting young disabled people including barriers to the job market and difficulties using public transport and social venues such as cinemas, restaurants and sports venues.
"I’m absolutely thrilled to be the WWE Community Champion for Northern Ireland - it came as a complete surprise to me," Sean said. "I really enjoy giving back to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, which has done a lot for me over the years. The support the charity gives and the research it does is just so important."
Tyler Hopkins, 9, was nominated by big sister Chloe, 15, who has the muscle-wasting condition, Nemaline myopathy. Tyler was announced as a WWE Community Champion after Chloe told of how "nothing is ever too much trouble" for the youngster and how he will do anything to support his sister, "no matter how big or small."
Chloe tells how learning about her condition and adapting to her ever-changing health is not an easy thing for someone as young as Tyler to deal with, but that her brother’s support has been "incredible" and she wants to see him "get the recognition he so deserves."
"Being a WWE Community Champion is very exciting," Tyler said. "It’s brilliant to see the wrestling live. Chloe nominated me and she got to come along too and watch the wrestlers with me. Having a big sister is great and I like helping her however I can."
Shaun Joseph Potts, 25, who has the severe muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy, plays a major role in caring for his stepbrother James Dean, 21, who also has the condition. In addition to supporting James, Shaun has been volunteering for a performing arts group for people with special needs for more than 10 years, organizing audio, video and photography for performances. Shaun was announced as a WWE Community Champion after judges were impressed by his "kindness and dedication to help others, regardless of his own disability."
"I am an absolutely huge fan of WWE," Shaun said. "It was pretty overwhelming to find out my friend Christina had nominated me and I had been selected as North East Community Champion and would be seeing the matches live. The event in Newcastle was incredible! I feel really humbled to have won this.
"Volunteering is really rewarding and so many organizations and community groups need support. It would be fantastic to see more young people getting involved."
Catherine Gillies, 25, who has the muscle-wasting condition congenital muscular dystrophy, was selected from eight regional finalists for her work launching the 400-strong young campaigners group, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers in Scotland. Catherine was central to compiling a major report on the views of young Scots living with disabilities and braved national and Glasgow radio to explain the findings and make sure the message of equal access for all was heard far and wide. She has spoken out about obstacles to higher education, employment and accessing social facilities like restaurants and sports venues.
"I've loved WWE since I was 9 years old and going to see the live events in Glasgow is always a fantastic experience," Catherine said. "I'm ecstatic to be Scottish WWE Community Champion. It makes me feel very proud of the work I've done with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers, and about raising awareness of the challenges facing young disabled Scots."