Charity is one of the principal cornerstones of Freemasonry, with Charitable giving being a fundamental part of every Freemason’s being. This could not be more eloquently tangibly demonstrated then by a recent charitable cause to improve the quality of life for a 5 year old girl named ‘April’, who suffers from a debilitating lifelong rare genetic condition.
April Ells was diagnosed with a chromosomal disorder called Mosaic 18Q Deletion just a few days after she was born at Tunbridge Wells Hospital. April’s condition means she is missing part of her 18th chromosome, resulting in all the cells which duplicate from missing parts of its data. As a result, April can’t communicate, crawl or walk, stand, or feed herself but can hold herself up for a few seconds and has recently learned how to pick objects up and move them.
Medical data quantifies around one in 40,000 babies are born with Mosaic 18Q Deletion, but every child will be affected differently as it depends on which cells are missing.
A Masonic Motorcycle association named ‘Band of Brothers’ since their inception in 2019, like other Freemasons, have always been active to seek out individuals/causes and organisations in need in the Kent region, to support through the means of Charity. They have been successful in tangibly improving a variety of individuals and causes in its 4 year history.
April and her parent’s wish to provide April a better quality of life came to the attention of the Band of Brothers through its Charity Steward at one of their regular club nights. One of the members of Band of Brothers heard April’s story and their parent’s wish for April to have a specialist bike which was beyond there means, but would help with April’s movement and build her muscles to help her walk in the future. As well as to experience and enjoy the great outdoors with her parents and siblings. The members agreed to fundraise to make April’s and her parent’s dreams of a Specialist bike for April, a reality.
Band of Brother’s discovered though that the price of the specialist bike was significant and would take a substantial length of time to raise the money needed. The President of the Band of Brothers ‘Stephen Demwell’ was also a member of Radiant Star lodge 8967 based at Dartford Masonic Centre, Province of West Kent. Stephen Demwell proposed to his fellow lodge brethren and Worshipful Master to jointly support Band of Brother’s aspiration to raise funds, with the hope of purchasing April’s specialist bike a lot sooner than currently envisaged.
Radiant Star lodge raised a total of £778.00 at its July 2023 regular meeting, which combined with Band of Brother’s fund raise of £1200.00 through its regular club nights provided the capital needed to enable April’s specialist bike to be ordered and built to April’s particular needs and requirements, which included being Pink in colour.
In September 2023, a presentation event was organised at April’s home in Tonbridge which was well attended by members of April’s family, friends and members of both Band of Brothers and Radiant Star lodge.
April’s father Chris said: “It means the world to us. It might just be a bike, but to us, it is a bit of freedom that April cannot have otherwise.
This heart-warming story caught the attention of the regional news publisher ‘Kent Messenger’ who subsequently produced a wonderful article available to view on their online web publication by clicking here
Band of Brothers and Radiant Star lodge will continue to seek out and support local causes and Charities, ever demonstrating that key fraternal principal, that being Charity, whilst changing lives for the better.