A schoolboy aiming to raise £50,000 to fund a life-changing operation has smashed through the half-way mark - thanks to the generosity of residents and a kind-hearted businessman.
Alfie Smith, who has cerebral palsy, has always dreamed of one day walking unaided and painfree.
Now that dream is moving ever closer to becoming a reality after £16,000 raised on his JustGiving has been matchfunded by Matt Haycox.
The consultant with Access Commercial Finance Limited made the generous offer to match what was on his page by Christmas Day after meeting the youngster at a Hartlepool United Football Club game.
The money will be used to fund selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery which will be carried out at Leeds General Infirmary
Matt Haycox said: “Reaching £16,000 is fantastic news and with the matchfunding that’s £32,000 towards the target Alfie needs. And all in the last 4 weeks.
Thank you so much everbody. It means everything to me.Alfie Smith
“I never thought when I attended that football match I’d end up meeting Alfie and getting involved to donate to such a worthy cause.
“As pleased as I am to be helping out in this way, the main achievement is all the fantastic people who have helped to get Alfie the £16,000 in the first place so that it can be matched by me - the effort and generosity of these people is brilliant.
“It an exciting time now for Alfie and his family and I am proud to have been part of getting them the best Christmas present they could ask for.”
Alfie, who has now been told how much money is in his fund, said: “I’m really happy. Thank you so much everybody. It means everything to me.”
His mum Annie Stalley said: “When we first started, I honestly didn’t think we would reach £10,000. I just want what’s best for my son, like any mother, but sitting looking at the figure of £50,000 it was something I could only dream about achieving, but never thought would be possible.
“But thanks to everyone’s support and generosity and to Matt - we are over half way there. It really is, now becoming a reality for Alfie and for us all.”
Meanwhile, Alfie’s brother Alex was presented with a Hidden Hero’s Award from Asda for his help, support and compassion shown towards his older sibling.
Jackie Caroll, community champion, said: “When we heard about Alex and how he supports his brother Alfie - we decided he was a worthy winner of an award.”