Jumping for a little girl’s joy

In April, Loulé resident Amy Nicole Findley will be throwing herself out of a plane, in a tandem skydive, in an attempt to raise money and awareness for a cause that is very close to her heart.

In September 2010, Amy began working as a one-to-one for a special little girl, Francesca Adam Smith, who has a unique genetic disorder and at 10 years of age is unable to speak.

“Her kindness and resolute desperation to express herself was both touching and overwhelming,” Amy told the Algarve Resident.

“She needs constant help which is essentially left to her mother. Sign language isn’t even really an option as Francesca isn’t physically strong enough to do so. She needs help.”

A specialist school has promised to have Francesca talking within a year through intensive therapy. She will undergo seven sessions of speech therapy a week, two of occupational therapy and six of physiotherapy and one session of hydrotherapy a week with a fully integrated team. But the school fees are £40,000 (around €46,700) and, despite Francesca’s local education provider recognising her urgent need, she has been turned down for funding.

So now Amy, who is a Teaching Assistant at the Vilamoura International School, hopes she will be able to raise enough funds to help Francesca. “To the world it may mean nothing, but to Francesca it will mean the world,” concluded Amy.

Francesca’s mother Rachel Shepherd used to write a column for the Algarve Resident about her daughter, and how she inspired her to promote businesses and amenities in the Algarve that provided facilities for disabled visitors and residents. They have since returned to the UK but visit the Algarve often.

To read more about this special girl, search ‘Francesca’ on our website –


To sponsor Amy: www.justgiving.com/Amy-Skydive-Francesca