Celebrity football match to help fundraise for Northamptonshire boy with rare illness

Avery Bazin-Ball
Avery Bazin-Ball

The Northamptonshire public is being urged to help support a young boy with a rare genetic condition in his family's fundraising efforts by coming to a charity football match with celebrities.

Avery Bazin-Ball has spinal muscular astrophy (SMA) type 2, a degenerative muscle-wasting disease meaning he is unable to even crawl, as well as affecting the respiratory system and his ability to swallow.

Avery Bazin-Ball at The West Haddon Show

Avery Bazin-Ball at The West Haddon Show

The family of the three-year-old from Braunston have been fundraising since last year to pay for his treatment and everything that comes with it.

Terry O'Neil, from Daventry, who has organised many charity football matches with children's charity Once Upon a Smile in their aid, decided to do one for Avery to support the family.

Avery's mother Lisa Bazin said: "It's kind of blown us away really, it sounds like it's going to be a fantastic day, Terry has worked so hard on it, as have the volunteers and players, and they've got lots of local businesses on board.

"They've done so much to make it a great day for everybody so we're honoured to be a part of that and for Avery to receive some of the funds is amazing - we're really looking forward to it.

The game at Daventry Town Football Club's ground on August 18, will be between a team of celebrities from Once Upon a Smile against Team Avery, made up of Daventry players.

There will be stalls, food, drink and children's entertainment, and a karaoke evening the night before to meet the celebs and break the ice.

Everything raised from the two days will be split between Avery's fund, the charity and the football club's youth teams.

Which famous faces will be there will not be known until ten days beforehand, but previous celebs to take part in Once Upon a Smile's matches include The Royle Family's Ralf Little.

Terry said: "It's going to be good for the family and the charity, but for us, Avery is the main thing, he's such a fantastic child, I've never seen anyone smile so much, he's such a mischievous, cheeky boy.

"It's just nice to be a part of trying to help them, one of the players has raised £3,500 so far, they're really getting behind it - it's the most sponsored event we have had."

It has been a rollercoaster for the family since Avery was diagnosed with SMA 18 months ago.

Lisa and Avery's father Alex Ball were told there was no treatment available on the NHS, despite a drug called Spinraza being used across the globe, so they were faced with having to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for it in the US.

But a breakthrough came in September last year, when an Italian hospital agreed to Avery being part of a trial of the drug.

Despite monthly trips to Milan to collect the medicine, it is having profound effects on Avery's wellbeing, with him being able to roll over for the first time in a matter of weeks and he is improving every day.

Money is still needed for equipment, the flights to Italy and more, so the family is beyond grateful for all of the support from relatives, friends and the community.

Tickets are for the football match are £4 for adults, £1 for children. For the disco, it is £10. To purchase tickets, call Terry on 07463 809676, or contact Avery's family on Facebook, or the football club.

To find out more about Avery's journey and appeal, visit his Facebook page. To donate, click here.