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Natalie and Olly on a high after charity climb A selfie Natalie; fundraiser defies cerebral palsy in bid to raise PS30,000.

Byline: JESS MOLYNEUX ECHO Correspondent news@liverpoolcom @LIVECHONEWS

TITLE AN inspirational woman who has defied all odds has completed her challenge to go over the O2 Arena roof alongside pop star Olly Murs.

Natalie Preston took on her daredevil mission in a wheelchair to raise money for Brainwave, a children's charity that helps children with disabilities and additional needs to achieve greater independence.

Natalie, 29, wanted to mark her 30th birthday by giving back to Brainwave, who have helped support her since she was two years old.

Throughout Natalie's childhood, Brainwave were active in designing individual programmes of therapy for her to carry out at home and have supported the family since.

It was through Brainwave that Natalie, from Southport, first met Olly Murs, who has been a patron of the charity for eight years.

Olly agreed to help Natalie thank Brainwave by participating in the challenge to raise PS30,000 for Natalie's 30th birthday.

Natalie Preston said: "Brainwave has been part of my life and helped our family so, so much that I really wanted to tackle this challenge to show them just how grateful I am.

"I was so pleased when Olly said yes to helping me do this.

"It was a truly amazing experience and I'm now more determined than ever to raise my sponsorship target of PS30,000 for Brainwave."

The pair scaled more than 50m to reach the top of the O2 last Friday, which took about two hours.

They were accompanied by a team of experts and Natalie's dad, Lawrence.

Sally Preston, Natalie's mum, said: "It was just absolutely brilliant.

"She loved every single moment of it and she said to her dad she'll never forget going up there, it was very special." Sally added: "It was good to see her so independent."

At nine months old Natalie was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her parents were told she would never walk, talk, sit up or be able to be educated.

At age 14, Natalie also developed scoliosis, causing severe curvature to her spine and she later underwent 12-hour surgery.

LOREM Afterwards, Natalie was told by doctors that she wouldn't have lived to 30 without the operation.

LOREM After reaching the top of the O2 roof, Natalie said: "All the other challenges I've faced over the last 29 years I had no control over. For the first time I've been able to challenge myself and my cerebral palsy."

LOREM " Later that day, Natalie and children from Brainwave and another charity were invited to watch Olly's set rehearsal and attended his concert.

Bisulussust? O tem Olly, who performed at the O2 Arena as part of his 2019 All The Hits Tour, said: "What an incredible experience!

terfec ocul vitanum ilnerum pestestrum "It was made even better knowing I was doing this for such an amazing cause alongside Natalie, who is such an inspiration."

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Phil Edge, Brainwave CEO, said: "I am so happy our charity has played a big part in helping her become the incredible woman she is today."

| To help Natalie visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/overtheo2forbrainwave or visit www.brainwave.org.uk/.

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A selfie for Natalie with Olly Murs top of the Arena in London

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 23, 2019
Words:536
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