Craig Wheeler, 31, is the current Mayor of Thrapston, near Kettering. We are delighted that he has chosen THS as his Mayor’s Charity of the Year 2022-2023, and we asked him to explain why.
Craig says, ‘My youngest son, Arthur, has severe haemophilia B, as well as other platelet disorders. Coming along to a newly diagnosed weekend to support families really helped us, and we want to give something back. The Haemophilia Society is, after all, the only UK charity to support people affected by genetic bleeding conditions,’ says Craig.
Craig, and his wife Lauren, had no inkling of any bleeding disorders in their family, and so when at seven months old Arthur had a severe bleed on his finger, it was suggested that Arthur could have a sprain or fracture. It took three months before their medical team started suggesting that it could be something more, and Arthur underwent a series of tests. Finally, when Arthur had a bleed on his arm too, a consultant diagnosed that Arthur had a bleeding disorder at ten months of age.
Arthur is now under the care of the Leicester team, who Craig says have been really good with Arthur’s treatment. Now aged four, Arthur has a port, and treatment once a week, although that may increase when he starts school.
A typical four-year-old, Arthur is full of energy and always active, especially loving being outdoors. Sometimes it can be difficult for Arthur’s big brother, Charlie, now aged 11, as they aren’t supposed to share too much rough and tumble. But Charlie often goes across to Arthur’s nursery class, which is attached to his school, to play with Arthur and his friends.
The newly diagnosed weekend that the family attended was really helpful for Arthur’s brother Charlie to start to understand about Arthur’s condition, says Craig. He adds, ‘Charlie also went on a Haemophilia Society Youth Camp last year, where he had a brilliant time. But it was also a great opportunity for him to meet and talk to other young people dealing with the same kinds of issues, who understood his situation.’
Craig’s Mayoral fundraising plans for this year include a ‘Party in the Park’, raffles, an Abba tribute night, and a band night. The town’s Youth Council have already kicked-off plans by raising money at a local fair, and Craig and Lauren plan to rope as many people as possible into joining THS’s upcoming Bridge Walk.