Appeal to fund life-changing operation for nine-year-old tops £40,000
PUBLISHED: 11:35 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:45 24 July 2019
An appeal to raise funds for a life-changing operation for a youngster with cerebral palsy is a step closer to its £60,000 target, thanks to staff and volunteers at Sheringham Park, who laid on an outdoor event featuring activities ranging from bug hunting and woodland crafts, to pond dipping and drumming.
Nine-year-old Sheringham Primary School pupil Ben Taylor, whose twin brother Alex died at the age of just four days, suffered a bleed on the brain at birth and was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy at the age of two.
Until two years ago, he was able to walk with a frame but, as he grew, the muscles in his legs became increasingly tight, taking away his ability to stand unaided and leaving him needing powerful drugs to control the severe pain he suffers on a daily basis.
His parents Belinda and Laurence are now pinning their hopes on an operation which will relieve the spasticity in Ben's legs and could dramatically improve his quality of life.
However, because he is not eligible to have the procedure on the NHS, they launched a £60,000 fundraising appeal with the help of the charity Just 4 Children.
In less than three months, donations have topped the £40,000-mark, with Mrs Taylor organising events ranging from a clothing swish, to a jumble sale; Mr Taylor scaling Ben Nevis in honour of his son; Sheringham Primary music teacher Jon Cooper completing a 200-mile sponsored cycle; Ben selling copies of a self-penned book about a young superhero wheelchair-user; family friend Roger King raising nearly £200 by busking in Sheringham town centre, and school friends running cake sales and donating their pocket money.
Mrs Taylor said the family, who have also received grants from local charities including Sheringham Carnival Association and Sheringham and Cromer Lions, were expecting to hear from Great Ormond Street Hospital with a date for Ben's operation soon and were now focusing on raising the final £20,000, which will pay for the intensive specialist physiotherapy he will need after surgery.
"It is such a relief to know the end is in sight," she said. "The support and generosity of the community has been overwhelming and although Ben knows he has a difficult road ahead, knowing he can have the operation has not only given him confidence in what he can achieve, it has given the whole family hope."
To support Ben, visit www.betterlifeforben.com