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A 17-year-old British girl is showing the first signs of waking up from a coma, and her parents are now enlisting celebrities to help with a new charity to help others with the same problem.

Sophie Wilkinson has been in a coma since a horror car crash in November last year, and over the past few days she has started to become aware of what is going on around her, focusing on people, responding to voice commands and making vocalisations. Her parents, Andrew and Alison Wilkinson, are thrilled but say now is the crucial time to get their daughter listening to as many different voice recordings as possible to make sure she continues to improve, and have enlisted the help of several high profile celebrities to help them. And the response from famous voices has been so strong that the couple now want to start up a service for other coma sufferers.

Johnny Depp, Sharon Osbourne, and Top Gear’s Richard Hammond have all pledged their support for the initiative, and Depp also recorded a tape of physical commands for Sophie in the voice of his Pirates of the Caribbean character, Captain Jack Sparrow.

“When someone is in a coma, it’s important to find that key to unlocking them out of the coma,” said Alison Wilkinson. “It could be a smell, a sound, or a voice. In Sophie’s case we knew she was a huge fan of Johnny so we thought that if she heard his voice it may wake her. We realised what a great idea it would be to have a bank of celebrity voices reading out specific commands that the doctors have issued. No matter who a person’s favourite star is, their family could get a tape from our Wake Up bank. Nobody knows what the right key will be but anything is worth a try, and if we can make that easier for families in our situation it will be worth it.”

Andrew Wilkinson is also excited about the charity initiative idea: “We were over the moon when Johnny agreed to record a tape, and now more stars are signing up it’s fantastic. We have had lots of promises from people, but only a few have actually sent recordings. Now that Sophie is showing signs of responding to certain voices it’s the critical time to get her listening to as many different voices as possible. That is why our Wake Up charity is so important, because people in the future will not have to wait like we are at this vital time. Having all the voices in a bank will mean we can get them to the families quicker and celebrities only have to do one recording.”

The couple are also holding a special charity gala ball on July 5 at the Botley Park Hotel Golf and Country Club. Tickets can be purchased by contacting tickets@sophies-gift.com. More information can be found at www.sophies-gift.com.

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