RDA will be the featured charity for the first BBC Lifeline Appeal of 2016, to be aired on BBC1, Sunday 17 January at 16:15 pm. The Appeal will be presented by TV and Radio presenter Anneka Rice. Repeated on Wednesday 20 Jan at 13:00, the programme features 5 year old RDA rider, Amy and Paralympian Sophie Christiansen. Both rider stories illustrate the transformative effect horse riding has had and why donations are so important to enable the charity to help even more people.
During the programme, viewers will meet Amy and her parents, who offer an emotional account of Amy’s first few weeks as a premature baby and her eventual diagnosis of Global Development Delay, Sensory Processing Disorder and core stability weakness. Mum Sarah describes Amy’s daily challenges as well as the amazing impact RDA has had since she started riding just one year ago.
“She is SO much stronger ,” says Sarah, “and can now walk longer distances and is learning how to walk up and down stairs safely. She is more stable when playing with other children so hopefully sometime soon she will be able to join her friends outside in the school playground.”
Paralympian Sophie Christiansen discusses how she started riding for physiotherapy aged 7 and how RDA has given her the opportunity to achieve so much in life – not just as an elite equestrian but also the confidence to gain her Masters in Maths and go on to carve out a successful career.
Anneka Rice explains her involvement with the charity and why she was so keen to front the Appeal: “I first became aware of RDA when I helped to build an indoor riding school for one of the charity’s groups in London 21 years ago as part of the programme Challenge Anneka. I was privileged to meet some of the amazing riders, volunteers and horses, and to understand the lasting difference riding can make.“
For the children and adults I have spoken to, RDA is an incredibly special place, where friendships are made, where no one is treated differently and where disability fades into the background. That’s why I’m proud to support this Lifeline Appeal, and why I hope you will feel able to donate what you can to help many more disabled people find out what they can achieve.”
The Appeal opens for donations on Thursday 14 January and remains open for a month. Visit the programme page: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06ymyyr