The ul­ti­mate gift for young Char­lie

The To­day Show team meets their big­gest fan

Whitsunday Times - - LO­CAL NEWS - By Inge Hansen

“Char­lie, he’s such a lovely young man and he’s such a spe­cial per­son,” - Richard Wilkins

CHAR­LIE Bell’s ul­ti­mate wish was to meet the hosts of the To­day Show and yes­ter­day in Air­lie Beach, his wish came true – just in time for his 20th birth­day.

Born with a rare syn­drome, Me­ga­len­cephaly Cutis Mar­morata Te­lang­iectat­ica Con­genita ( MCMTC), Char­lie’s con­di­tion has im­pacted his phys­i­cal and men­tal health, pre­vent­ing him from par­tic­i­pat­ing in many life ex­pe­ri­ences.

But the To­day Show has al­ways been a ‘con­stant’ in his life.

Char­lie’s mum Sharyn Bell said he adored the pop­u­lar Aus­tralian morn­ing pro­gram.

“He has al­ways had a bit of an ob­ses­sion with news pro­grams and the weather and he tends to iden­tify with the news­read­ers and the hosts of shows and con­sid­ers them to be his friends,” she said.

“He par­tic­u­larly loves the To­day Show and watches it re­li­giously ev­ery morn­ing and will tape it on his iPad and iPhone then watch it again in the af­ter­noon.”

When Char­lie’s younger sis­ter Mag­gie found out the To­day Show was com­ing to Air­lie Beach, she reached out on Face­book in the hope her brother would get to meet his idols.

In Mag­gie’s post, which has now been shared 418 times, she spoke of how each morn­ing Char­lie would wake up with To­day and she per­son­ally thanked the team.

“Thank you for teach­ing him (Char­lie) to an­swer his phone by say­ing ‘I wake up with To­day’ and thank you for fill­ing his mind with pop­u­lar top­ics that serve as fan­tas­tic din­ner time con­ver­sa­tions,” she wrote.

“Thank you for bring­ing him such gen­uine joy and hap­pi­ness and thank you for giv­ing him some­thing to look­ing for­ward to ev­ery sin­gle morn­ing.”

Broad­cast­ing live from the Air­lie Beach fore­shore yes­ter­day morn­ing as part of the We Love Aus­tralia tour, the To­day team had a brief chat with their big­gest fan.

Char­lie said he was ner­vous but in­cred­i­bly ex­cited to meet them.

“It’s so good to talk to them and get pho­tos,” he said.

“Karl is so silly, and Tim, they’re my favourites.”

Pre­sen­ter Richard Wilkins said he was happy to have the chance to meet one of his big­gest fans.

“Char­lie, he’s such a lovely young man and he’s such a spe­cial per­son,” he said.

“We con­tinue to be hum­bled by the peo­ple who come across our tracks here.”

De­scribed as a “happy and so­cia­ble boy”, Char­lie and his fam­ily are well known mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Ms Bell said she and her hus­band, Stu­art had of­ten con­sid­ered mov­ing to the city where they could ac­cess ser­vices but changed their minds.

“We felt be­ing known in the com­mu­nity and be­ing sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily has just high­lighted our de­ci­sion to stay,” she said.

And Ms Bell said they were also in­cred­i­bly proud of Mag­gie for help­ing Char­lie’s dream come true.

“We got just as many com­ments from the com­mu­nity about what a won­der­ful sis­ter Mag­gie is as we did about how won­der­ful it would be for Char­lie to meet them,” she said. “They’ve al­ways been in­cred­i­bly close.”

. “It’s so heart-warm­ing and I’m grate­ful to be part of such a great com­mu­nity.”

MU­SI­CAL: Event or­gan­iser Gavin 'Butto' But­ler with al­most 40 rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Air­lie Beach Fes­ti­val of Mu­sic. Butto said they were stoked when Lisa Wilkin­son spoke about the fes­ti­val on air. Photo: An­drew Pat­tin­son / Vampp Pho­tog­ra­phy.

TAL­ENTED: Adrian Con­nor, the man be­hind the Air­lie Beach sand sculp­tures, cre­ated this mas­ter­piece es­pe­cially for the To­day Show team to wel­come them to the re­gion. Mr Con­nor said it took him three days to com­plete.

EARLY BIRDS: It was an early start for lo­cals who wanted to catch the To­day Show be­gin their live broad­cast in Air­lie Beach.

COM­PE­TI­TION TIME: Pre­sen­ters, Sylvia Jef­freys, Tim Gil­bert, Karl Ste­fanovic, Lisa Wilkin­son and Richard Wilkins with Kev Collins, from Fish D'vine, who demon­strated how to peel a mud crab, one of the re­gion’s most pop­u­lar seafoods, be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mud crab peel­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

FAREWELL: The To­day Show hosts fin­ished the show with a bang as they left Air­lie Beach on jet skis. The crowd gath­ered on the edge of the shore and cheered as they left mak­ing their mark on the Whit­sun­day re­gion. The team said they ab­so­lutely loved vis­it­ing Air­lie.

ARTIS­TIC: Glenn Ta­iapa hold­ing his piece of Py­ro­graphic Wood­work which he cre­ated es­pe­cially for the To­day Show team. The piece will be put up for auc­tion and pro­ceeds will go to­wards the Mor­combe . Glenn is hop­ing it will be dis­played in the green room at the To­day Show stu­dios.

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