MHF delivers transformational experiences in the UK, called 'Muscle Dreams', for children and young people with muscular dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular conditions. The launch-pad for MHF was Michael's own transformational experience. As someone with MD himself, he achieved success in leading expeditions to both the North and South Poles.
The first disabled person to have done this, he was recognised in the Queen's Christmas broadcast in 2004 as a champion of diversity as a strength.
Since then, the charity has grown, picked up multiple awards and retained the loyalty of its supporters. It continues to draw on Michael's formidable energy, passion and skills as MHF's 'Chief Muscle Warrior'. Michael (pictured left with Vicky Browning, is a sought after inspirational speaker, business leader and a catalyst for change. In June 2015, he required life- saving surgery but, in continually defying the odds, his physical limitations have neither impacted on his communications dexterity nor diminished his spirit of optimism.
With MHF's latest Airbus A380 Muscle Dream being realised for Lewis Harper, an 11yr-old boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who last week flew from Belfast to London Heathrow with his family from his home in Strabane (West Tyrone), Northern Ireland, the charity has now delivered 240 "Muscle Dreams". Each experience is highly-personalised, bringing new hope, confidence and self-esteem. To date, well over 600 family members and partner charities have joined the charity's 'Muscle Warrior' tribe. MHF is well on the way to achieving Michael's vision of delivering 657 Muscle Dreams, one for every muscle in the human body.
The father-of- one from Buntingford in East Herts was nominated by long-serving MHF professional volunteer Sarah Lowther, presenter of the Share Radio Breakfast show. She said: "Michael is a man filled with a gentle thoughtfulness who continually defies the odds. He's an achiever with thousands benefitting from his belief that 'whatever you want to do, you can'.His is a powerful message that is changing the lives of the estimated 70,000 MD sufferers in the UK today."
Commenting on the award, Michael said: "I'm honoured and truly humbled by this recognition. I must confess I was a little surprised when I heard the news! As ever, it's teamwork that makes the dream work and whilst MHF continues to go from strength to strength, our focus remains firmly on the charity's ability to change lives and give hope.
We're proud to be members of an organisation that's not only flying the flag for communications as a vital strategic function at the heart of charities, but also shares best practice."
CharityComms is the membership network (with currently over 4000 members) for communications professionals working in charities across the UK. Other winners of the 2016 Inspiring Communicator Award include: Steve Ford, Chief Executive of Parkinson's UK; Keith Wilson, Marketing Manager at Naomi House and Jacksplace; and Adam Petrie, Director of Communications and Marketing at Shooting Star Chase Hospice.