Tony's incredible courage and determination inspires us all
Posted on Monday 29th June 2020
Tony, 5, walking for Evelina London
A five-year-old boy has raised a staggering amount of money to say thank you to Evelina London for saving his life.
Tony Hudgell, from Kent, has raised more than a million pounds for Evelina London since starting a fundraising challenge on 1 June.
Tony suffered injuries as a baby, which meant that he had to have both of his legs amputated in 2017. Having received his first pair of prosthetic legs earlier this year, Tony vowed to walk 10 kilometres throughout June. Tony has now reached this distance, but is continuing his efforts until the end of the month in order to raise more funds to support our work and thank our hospital for caring for him since he was a baby.
Parents Paula and Mark Hudgell, who adopted Tony when he was a baby, couldn’t be more proud.
Paula, 52, said: “Despite having a terrible start in life, Tony is such a bright, loving and determined boy. The courage he shows every day is a constant source of inspiration. Evelina London is like a second home for Tony and the staff are like family. We are so happy to be able to pay back some of the gratitude we feel towards those who’ve looked out for Tony over the years.”
Tony has spent much of the coronavirus lockdown period learning to walk on his prosthetic legs with the aid of crutches. Though it’s been hard, he found inspiration from fellow fundraiser Captain Tom Moore, who raised more than £32m for the NHS.
Mother-of-eight Paula said: “Tony has been trying so hard with his crutches and it's gruelling for him. But then he saw Captain Tom on the news and said ‘Look, he's like me’. That’s when we came up with the idea to raise money for Evelina London.”
Tony has now raised over £1,000,000
On Friday 26 June, Tony's donations reached £1,000,000. On reaching this incredible fundraising milestone, Paula said: “I am speechless. The generosity of those who’ve got behind Tony is truly amazing.
“We are so proud of Tony for doing so well with his walking, while helping to make a difference to the lives of other children who need the care of Evelina London.
“Tony is over the moon to have raised so much money. It feels wonderful to give back to a place that is so special to us. Evelina London is like a second home for Tony and the staff are like family.”
Tony was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing fellow fundraiser Captain Tom Moore on the television and recently received a video message from Captain Tom himself, congratulating him on his achievement.
Tony also received royal support from our Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, who posted messages of congratulations on Twitter and Instagram.
Other high profile supporters include David Walliams, David Cameron, Alesha Dixon, Warwick Davis, Susanna Reid and Chelsea FC captain César Azpilicueta.
Caroline Gormley, Associate Director of Fundraising at Evelina London, said: “We are so impressed that Tony has passed his 10k target five days early and is determined to keep going to the end of June. Paula has been giving us regular updates and we’ve been amazed at his progress.
“We’ve been right behind Tony every step of the way and will be cheering him on over these final days of his challenge. His strength and the generosity of everyone who has donated will make such an incredible difference. He has made everyone at Evelina London so proud.”
Tony’s fundraising has even taken pride of place on Piccadilly Circus, with a huge electronic billboard on the iconic Piccadilly Lights site. The space was kindly donated by Ocean Outdoor and Landsec, with creative design by Heavenly Brand Agency.
To donate, visit Tony's fundraising walk Just Giving page.
Continue to support Tony’s challenge
Caroline Gormley, Associate Director of Fundraising at Evelina London, said: “We can’t thank Tony and his family enough for their incredible fundraising efforts and have been astonished at the kindness of all those that have donated so far.
“Tony is such an inspiration. The money raised through his sheer determination will go towards helping so many other children at Evelina London. We are so proud he is part of our family.”
Initially the Hudgells set a fundraising target of £500. Now the sky’s the limit for Tony and the money he’s raising. Paula said: “We have been absolutely blown away by the support. We are all just so thankful to everyone who has donated so far.”