A fund-raising campaign to help a two-year-old boy whose medical condition is so rare there is no specific diagnosis has surpassed £11,000 – and his parents are stunned by the support they have received.
Aidan Jackowiak Smith, from Shilbottle, was born with growths on his face, chin and back. As he approaches his third birthday this Boxing Day he still can’t walk or talk.
He faces a string of operations at Great Ormond Street, in London, and needs to be ferried to regular hospital appointments there, as well as to Wansbeck Hospital and the RVI in Newcastle.
But, as doctors have been unable to give his family a definite diagnosis, they have been unable to apply for funding from the appropriate charities to help with his care.
Father Karl had to give up his shop manager’s job to become a full-time carer on £60-a-week benefits and mother Vikki had to cut her hours working at the Newcastle council housing office to step in with Aidan’s care, putting a strain on the family’s finances.
But they have received thousands of pounds from the community, local businesses and other well-wishers to help.
Reflecting on a recent example, Karl said: “We’ve just spent a week in London while Aidan was being treated. The costs are enormous for us. The NHS don’t pay for train fares for the family to be there to support Aidan or for us to have somewhere to stay.
“The day we got home we found a £750 cheque on the doorstep from Stakeford Methodist Church. They’d heard about Aidan and wanted to help.”
A fund-raising Hallowe’en party takes place at Alnwick Working Men’s Club on November 2. Fancy-dress optional, with music from Before The Mast and Blue Fever. Tickets, £5, from Thomas Cook, Alnwick.