Our campaign to help a six-year-old boy walk for the first time has got off to a fantastic start, thanks to the generosity of the Chichester Lions Club.
After reading of our Fighting for Finley appeal, which was launched in the Observer last week, Lions members agreed to donate to this fantastic cause.
They were so touched by the story of cerebral palsy sufferer Finley Fairs, from Chichester, who needs to raise £24,000 to undergo a special operation, they have pledged £1,000 to the campaign.
The St Richard’s RC Primary School pupil’s condition means the muscles in his legs are painfully tight, which stops him walking, running or enjoying a game of football with his friends. A special procedure offered by Frenchay Hospital in Bristol – called selective dorsal rhizotomy – can loosen those muscles and help him run around with his pals for the first time.
The group’s generous donation brings the total to around £13,500, meaning the cheerful youngster is well on his way to walking.
“He is a Chichester boy and that is what we are here for – to help people,” said Chichester Lions Club president Vince Foot, who said members had voted unanimously to support young Finley’s battle.
“It is really important we support our local people in our community and that is what the Lions do. We go around and collect the money on the carol float and hold various events.
“All that money is to help people in our community, and this little fellow is very much part of our community.”
Last week Finley’s mum Lydia Fairs said the family – who have also received help from the Caudwell Children’s charity – had been ‘amazed’ by the support for her son.
“It’s just been quite humbling, to be honest,” she said. “I’m struggling a little bit because there are so many people who have done things and I don’t know all of them. I’m thankful to everyone who’s helped in any way by organising events or who’s donated.”
Also supporting the campaign is Stylish Skin Tattoos, a tattoo studio in Southgate, Chichester, which is offering half-price tattoos on Sunday, February 26, with the proceeds going to Finley. The body art specialists have already had lots of enquiries from people keen to get a tattoo and help the appeal, with eight already booked in on the day.
“Getting a permanent tattoo is obviously a serious decision, but if you do want a new piece of body art this is a great opportunity,” said owner Steve Dunning.
To book, call 01243 788666.
n The Fighting for Finley appeal is supported by Caudwell Children. For more details and to donate, call 01782 600114 or visit www.justgiving.com/fightingforfinley or www.caudwellchildren.com