By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 12:42, 29 October 2019
Top celebrity chefs – including Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett, Tom Parker-Bowles, Ken Hom and Chef to the Royal Family, Mark Flanagan – are backing a month-long ‘Meatballs Month’ national campaign which aims to raise money to fund ‘Muscle Dreams’ – transformational experiences for young children with the muscle wasting disease muscular dystrophy.
Meatballs Month is the brainchild of the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF) charity; the campaign aims to ignite the nation’s appetite for meatballs but at the same time encourage the flexing of fundraising muscles by throwing a meatball meal or party during the month of November.
Members of the public can download a kit from www.meatballmonth.com which provides invites, name cards and a fundraising guide to help organise a meatball party/dinner for friends and family whilst raising money for a Muscle Dream experience. Since it costs just £1,600 to fulfil each experience it is hoped that the initiative will result in the delivery of many more magical moments for children and young people with muscular dystrophy.
The standalone website features a host of delicious meatball recipes put together specifically for the campaign by some of the world’s finest chefs which in addition to those listed above also currently include Matthew Williamson (Rudding Park), Ben Tish (The Stafford Hotel & Norma), Hayden Groves (Executive Chef, Baxter Storey), Cyrus Todiwala (Café Spice Namaste), Andrei Lussmann (Lussmanns Fish & Grill Restaurant Group) and Head Chef Francesco Migliorin of Ristorante Frescobaldi.
Meatball party hosts can either choose a celebrity recipe for their party or conjure up their own culinary meatball masterpiece! Guests are urged to make donations – collected either by the party host and submitted or by individuals who can donate online.
In addition to raising valuable funds, Meatball Month is also designed to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy, a disease which currently has no cure. The average lifespan of someone with muscular dystrophy is 22 years old making the need to realise a child’s Muscle Dream all the more compelling – providing a life-changing experience for the beneficiary and a lasting memory for all the family to reflect upon during darker times. All participants are encouraged to share their meatball creations via social media, using the hashtag #meatballmonth.
A number of butchers and restaurants are also putting their weight behind the campaign, selling meatball packs and adding meatball dishes to their menus, and then donating a % of their takings to the charity.
Every child’s dream experience is personalised and MHF reports a number of benefits including improved confidence, greater self-esteem, increased sense of hopefulness and a powerful shared identity connecting the recipient with other families living with muscular dystrophy.
Key supporters of the charity’s Muscle Dream initiative include the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone. 2020 will see the company host its 10th annual Muscle Dream Driving programme in support of the charity. Next year 10 young people and their families will enjoy an incredible two days at the centre, when the lucky petrol-head recipients from the across the UK will have the opportunity to ‘light-it-up’ on Porsche’s own dedicated track!
Many organisations have given their time and services for free, these include Airbus, Marriott International, Hilton, Tesla and global events agency, BCD Meetings & Events to name a few. Celebrities who have lent their support include Lewis Hamilton, Al Pacino and Ray Mears.
Via this campaign, The Muscle Help Foundation (www.musclehelp.com) is aiming to help realise many more Muscle Dream experiences. To date, the charity has delivered 297, leaving a further 360 to go before it reaches its goal of 657, that’s one for every muscle in the human body. As the charity says, that’s the #powerof657.