A six-year-old disabled girl who completed a gruelling walking challenge dressed as Wonder Woman has finally spoken to the actress who portrays the DC Comics character.
Carmela Chillery-Watson, from Devizes, Wiltshire, has LMNA congenital muscular dystrophy, a life-limiting muscle-wasting disease, and is unlikely to live beyond her 20th birthday.
She completed a 300km charity challenge in September, using specially designed crutches, raising more than £15,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
On Tuesday evening, she shared a message of thanks to actress Gal Gadot – star of the new Wonder Woman 1984 movie – via a pre-recorded video on The One Show.
"It's not about me, I'm just a vessel"
— BBC The One Show (@BBCTheOneShow) December 15, 2020
“Hi Gal, it’s Carmela, AKA Wonder Girl,” said Carmela, referencing a September tweet from Gadot in which she described Carmela as “my real Wonder Girl”.
“I can’t wait to see your new movie. Thank you for donating to my Wonder Woman walk.
“You help me fight on living with muscular dystrophy and inspire me to do my exercise daily to help me stay strong… you help me and other children have hope.”
Speaking to the presenters, Gadot, who donated £3,442 to Carmela’s cause in September, said Carmela is “the true Wonder Woman”.
“That’s made my day,” said Gadot.
“It’s such a privilege to be able to affect these precious souls and to give them strength through our movies. Carmela is a true Wonder Woman.
“She fights for her goal and she shows that she doesn’t let anything stop her.
“Through this entire, very, very long trip that she and her mum did, they just walked and walked and walked. She’s amazing.
“Honestly it’s not about me, I’m just a vessel. I’m just the actress that got to portray this incredible character.”
My real wonder girl! Wow this video blew my mind. You’re a true hero. So inspiring and strong. I hope one day we get to meet each other. Until then I’m sending you lots of love and a big big hug!!! https://t.co/6K13LZI18y
— Gal Gadot (@GalGadot) September 9, 2020
Carmela’s disease affects her muscles and means she cannot walk continuously for more than five minutes at a time or for 60 seconds on inclines.
She completed her walking challenge in stints over the month of September, dressing up as her favourite superhero throughout – while still attending school, physio sessions and hospital appointments.
Carmela and her mother, Lucy, finished the route in Easterton after crossing Salisbury Plain.
Catherine Woodhead, CEO of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “We are over the moon that Carmela got to thank Gal Gadot on The One Show and we’re very grateful for the cast’s ongoing support.
“The money Carmela and her team raised during their Wonder Woman challenge is vital in helping us fund research into treatments, and ultimately a cure, for people with muscle-wasting conditions, particularly because our finances as a charity have been so badly affected by Covid-19.”