IT all started a year ago for fundraiser extraordinaire Katy Million.
She began the campaign to gather £30,000 to send her son Alex to America for life-changing surgery.
Katy, 31, from Greatham, hoped that over the next few years, she would gradually amass the total she needed – not realising that within weeks the Hartlepool public would take up the cause in style.
Now, as she looked back on her first 12 months of raising money, Katy reflected on nearly £8,000 being raised already.
She said: “People have been so lovely. They all seem to want to give their time to help.
“They have offered me venues for events, or offered to fundraise on my behalf. Some offer money, but they are all great.”
Katy, who needs to raise £30,000 by the time Alex is about 10 years old, has already raised money by events including selling balloons at £1 a go and running the Marathon of the North, which was held in Sunderland in May.
That was her first fundraising event and she said: “A marathon is something I had always wanted to do and I had thought about doing it for a charity.
“Then I thought ‘if I am going to do it, I am going to do it for my little boy’.”
Three-year-old Alex has two conditons called microtia – meaning little ear – and atresia, which means he doesn’t have an external ear canal, leaving him deaf on one side.
It is so rare, it affects only one in every 6,000 people.
The £30,000 is needed to get Alex to America to see the specialist surgeon John Reinisch, who developed the Medpor method of ear reconstruction specifically for the treatment of microtia. Katy is hoping to raise enough money for her son to have it in California.
Katy, who works part-time for KFC, has set up a website where people can find out more about the condition affecting her son.
It is available at www.earforalex.co.uk