They’ve done it!
Fundraisers have raised an incredible £35,000 and that means a little boy from Hartlepool CAN go to America for specialist life-changing surgery.
Alex Grant, now aged nine, was born with microtia which is the under-development of his external ear. He also has aural atresia which is a lack of an external ear canal.
But in just seven years, fundraisers have shaved their heads, had their chests waxed, and done sponsored runs and cycle rides to help Alex and make sure his dream comes true.
The money is needed so that the youngster - a Child of Courage winner at last year’s Best of Hartlepool Awards - can get to America to see the specialist surgeon John Reinisch. John developed the Medpor method of ear reconstruction specifically for the treatment of microtia.
Jubilant mum Katy Grant was full of emotion after the amazing fundraising news was confirmed.
I want to thank each and every single person who has been involved in this. There truly is too many to mention and if I started, I would never stop and I would hate to leave anyone out!Katy Grant
She said: “I want to thank each and every single person who has been involved in this.
“There truly is too many to mention and if I started, I would never stop and I would hate to leave anyone out! But please know that this was completely a team effort and I couldn’t have done any of it without you.
“From arranging events, calling in favours from friends and acquaintances, to sponsors, sharing the page, donations and support.
“We’ve had people shave their heads, wax their chests, run and cycle all kinds of distances, go above and beyond arranging special evenings, generally just being there to help and give me advice and and so much more.”
There was special thanks to The Bradley Lowery Foundation for their amazing support.
They gave the Greatham Primary School pupil an incredible £5,000 last Christmas on top of £9,000 it had donated earlier last year. Katy described the Foundation’s support as “awesome.”
She added: “I honestly didn’t think I could do it and I wouldn’t have without you all.”
Katy said she would be “be wrapping things up” with a raffle for Alex’s birthday and a race night at Denemouth Bar on May 30 in Hartlepool.
She explained: “Even though the target has been reached, there’s still a lot of unknowns with budgeting such a trip.
“I can’t say thank you enough... I’m so incredibly proud of you all!”
There have been many amazing highlights for Katy and Alex along the way.
* The Hartlepool Mail exclusively revealed in 2012 how the Ear For Alex campaign had been launched for the little boy who was just two at the time. His condition is so rare, it affects only one in every 6,000 people.
It meant that he gets upset and disorientated if he is ever in noisy situations such as among crowds or in parties. And if he ever picked up an infection in his good ear, it would leave him without any hearing at all.
* The same year, Katy herself raised £2,500 by running the Marathon of the North in Sunderland where she battled to the finish despite an ankle injury.
* Within a year, the remarkable Hartlepool public had helped boost the total to £8,000.
* In 2014, cyclist Jay Perrera and his colleagues completed a 170-mile challenge to raise money and they helped to push the total past £12,000.
* And also in 2014, kind-hearted people chose the Ear For Alex campaign as their supported charity when they did the Ice Bucket Challenge.
* In 2017, Ear For Alex got the backing of Bradley Lowery’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma campaign. Katy said she was ‘truly honoured to have even been considered for help by them’.
* In 2018, the Foundation’s help pushed the total much higher when donations came in for £5,000 and £9,000.
* And that same year, Alex became an award winner when he was announced as one of the Best of Hartlepool Awards Children of Courage.