Young Michael Holyland makes big progress on CSF's health programme despite challenges of illness
Michael Holyland is an 11-year-old boy who has enjoyed a new lease of life thanks to the support of the Community Sports Foundation's Fit4it programme.
Michael has leukaemia and one of the side effects of his treatment is that his weight often fluctuates and is difficult to control.
Referred to CSF’s free Fit4it programme last year, Michael was given the chance to learn about healthy eating through interactive workshops and enjoy fun physical exercise classes.
Michael’s mother Laura Holyland is delighted with the results of programme – not just for the positive effect on Michael but on the family’s wellbeing as a whole.
Michael’s Fit4it journey started when he was referred to the programme through the National Childhood Measurement Programme which measures every primary school pupil’s BMI, across the county.
It is understandable that some families may react unfavourably to this referral, and Laura was particularly aggrieved that Michael had been selected because of his illness:
“It took a few disgruntled weeks of attending Fit4it before I started to think it was a good idea. Due to my husband being at work, I had to bring Michael’s younger brother Nathan with us but both of the boys enjoyed the games and meeting new friends.”
The initial effects of her son’s chemotherapy treatment had been causing issues at the dinner table for Laura and the rest of the family:
“His taste buds changed significantly and it wasn’t long before Michael was dictating mealtimes and what the family ate. At times, I’d be cooking late into the night - Michael would be in tears as he was starving.”
Through guidance and information gained from the course, Laura began to take positive steps at mealtimes:
“We have all gained useful information from Fit4it; Nathan and Michael learnt about hidden ingredients and their effects on the body and I attained that my meal portions were too big. Although Michael may have cancer, he still needs to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.”
Now, we have fish every week and at least two portions of vegetables on our dinner plate - chips are strictly a once a week treat!”
Michael (bottom row; four from the left) enjoyed some star company as a mascot at CSF's annual celebrity soccer match Jamie's Game
Following the completion of the programme, Michael and Nathan were invited to attend a Celebration Evening at Carrow Road and Michael got the special opportunity to be a mascot at CSF’s annual celebrity football match, Jamie’s Game, earlier this year.
“I would absolutely recommend Fit4it to other families, it's a free programme and a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to meet new friends,” concludes Laura.
“All the staff were very supportive and understanding. The kids loved it!”