A six-year-old girl from Edgware will rub shoulders with the stars including Paloma Faith and Peter Andre at one of the most prestigious fundraising events of the year.
Jennifer Jakaj, who attends Colindale primary school, on Clovelly Avenue, will be a special guest at this year’s Butterfly Ball, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair.
She was invited by ball organisers, the Cauldwell Children charity, because of the bravery she has shown in coping with her cerebral palsy. In the last six months alone, she’s had two operations and currently has both legs in plaster.
Mum Iwona said: “She never complains and just gets on with things, so this is a really good thing to happen to her right now.
“She’s been desperate to tell people that she’s going and she can’t stop talking about it. The first thing I said when we had calmed down was ‘we need new ball gowns,’ which we’re going out to buy this week.”
Last year’s Butterfly Ball raised a staggering £1.7 million. In the past it has been attended by the likes of of Simon Cowell, Rod Stewart, Joan Collins and Sir Bruce Forsyth.
This year’s event will be compered by Peter Andre and will include a performance by X Factor runner-up Fleur East, who is one of Jennifer’s idols.
Jennifer said both she and her mum screamed when they got a phone call from the charity inviting them.
She said: “I can’t wait to go up the red carpet and I’m really excited about the stars that I may meet. I watched Paloma Faith on The Voice so to see her in person will be amazing.”
Support Jennifer has received from the charity over the years includes the funding of a specialist tricycle and physiotherapy, and a contribution to travel and subsistence costs for operations in Bristol.
The charity’s chief executive Trudi Beswick said: “She’s had a tough year but through it all she’s been extremely brave so she deserves to go to the ball. I’m sure that she will be happy posing and chatting on the red carpet with stars from the world of music, sport, film and television."
Jennifer’s dad and brother will also go to the ball, which takes place next Thursday (May 25).
Caudwell Children is a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families. The Butterfly Ball is its flagship, fundraising event.
Proceeds from the event will be used to transform the lives of disabled children living in the UK through a range of services. Since 2000 the charity has provided over £37million worth of support and helped thousands of families throughout Wales and the UK.
For more information visit www.caudwellchildren.com