Mystery donor helps appeal for youngster's life-changing operation top the £60,000-mark
PUBLISHED: 17:10 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:23 25 September 2019
An appeal to pay for a youngster to have a life-changing operation has reached its target in just over eighteen weeks, after an anonymous donor chipped in the final £7,700 needed to take it to the £60,000-mark.
Ten-year-old Ben Taylor, whose twin brother Alex died at the age of just four days, was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy as a toddler.
As he has grown, the muscles in his legs have become increasingly tight, leaving him unable to stand without support and dependent on powerful drugs to control the severe pain he suffers on a daily basis.
Pinning their hopes on an operation which could dramatically improve his quality of life, his parents Belinda and Laurence launched an appeal to raise the £60,000 needed for Ben to have the procedure - which is not available on the NHS.
The community rallied, with Ben's fellow pupils at Sheringham Primary School donating their pocket money and holding sponsored silences; local shops giving raffle prizes; music teacher Jon Cooper completing a 200-mile bike ride around Norfolk; Mrs Taylor organising events ranging from a jumble sale, to a children's day at Sheringham Park, and local charities including Sheringham and Cromer Lions and the town's carnival association also contributing.
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The most recent event - a 24-hour lads and dads' football match organised by Sheringham Primary Year 3 teacher Ben Harvey saw youngsters, parents and school staff play at Cromer Sports Centre for four-hour stints, raising nearly £3,000.
Mr Harvey said: "Ben is such a bright and lovely boy so we wanted to help. The atmosphere at the match was incredible - we even had teenagers walking past come and join in."
Ben, who also sold copies of his self-penned book, is now waiting for a date for his operation.
And although, with at least six months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy on the horizon, it will be some time before the full effects are known, his parents are confident that he can look forward to a brighter future.
"There is a long, hard road ahead," Mrs Taylor said. "But Ben is totally on board with that and he is excited about the prospect that things will be easier for him.
"He has been incredibly touched by how many people have wanted to support him and we want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of all our hearts, not just to the anonymous donor, but to everyone who has given up their time, money, skills and creativity to help us reach our target so quickly."