"You are dream makers" is how Joel reacted when he was first told that he could join Lord Nelson on a voyage to the Canaries. A group of ex-pats from a variety of nations living on the island of Madeira have raised enough funds to send a young man with Freidrich’s Ataxia and his brother as a buddy on a voyage from Lisbon to the Canaries.
Quite how they came across the idea of sending the boys on a tall ship voyage is still abit of a mystery but somehow the group, led by Charles Watson, found themselves working hard to raise enough money to make the trip possible. This was no easy task on a small island with just 300,000 people and a British ex-pat community of 1,000.
With the help of the Associacao Paralisia Cerebral da Madeira (APCM), the group were introduced to a quiet young man aged 29 with Freidrich’s Ataxia. This is a degenerative condition that often affects several members of a family. Three of Joel’s brothers also have the condition and they are all aware that their lives are going to be short. When Joel was first introduced to the idea of a voyage on Lord Nelson, he sat in his wheelchair clutching the sales literature from JST. "This is real?" he asked, and then said the words which should give the group the name of "the Dream Makers". It was decided that he would go on the voyage with his brother Emanuel, as his buddy.
6 months of fundraising later and the two young men are now sailing on board Lord Nelson. Almost all the ex-pats involved in the project came to Funchal airport to wave them off on the flight to Lisbon.
We wish Joel and Emanuel a wonderful time on board and we will post a report here when they return.
To read the full report of how the project was brought to life, click here