The desperate plight of a schoolboy who is at risk of seeing his dream of walking shattered has touched the hearts of the people of South Tyneside.
Residents and businesses have answered a plea by Jarrow-based Community Corner in their droves after the team posted that, for the next two-weeks. they will be raising funds for Alfie Smith.
The nine-year-old, from Hartlepool, has cerebral palsy which prevents him from doing everyday tasks including bathing himself and being able to walk.
He now has the chance to undergo an operation known as selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) but needs to raise at least £50,0000 before the operation can be booked. He is £17,000 short.
The race is against time is now on to find the rest of the cash he needs before his level of health drops to a point where surgery will no longer be an option. The money will fund the operation and at least two-years of vital aftercare and physiotherapy. Any additional funds over the £50,000 will be used to fund specialist equipment and a third year aftercare.
Cheryl McDonald. who runs Community Corner - based in Edinburgh Road, Jarrow - along with her mum Lynn Davis, said: “We normally only support good causes in South Tyneside, but we have been following his story through facebook and know how desperate the situation now is.
The support Alfie is receiving from Community Corner and those in South Tyneside, really has given me a boost.Annie Stalley
“We decided as a team to offer our support to try and help him raise the last of the money he needs.
“Within minutes of us posting about what we were doing and a little bit about Alfie we had people and businesses coming forward.
“We really can’t thank them enough.”
She added: “Lee Hughes from the Red Hackle has been amazing, donating bottles, running blind cards and on Friday he’s going to be doing a tombola outside the shop.
“I think the urgency of needing this money for this little boy has really hit home. The way people and businesses have got on board with this, really does show what a remarkable place South Tyneside is.”
Lynne Davis added: “The response to our appeal has been amazing. If anyone has any spare change they’d like to donate they can just call into the shop.”
Alfie’s mum Annie Stalley said: “The support Alfie is receiving from Community Corner and people in South Tyneside, really has given me a boost.
“I’m just really shocked by it all. I just feel so lucky at the moment at the help we are receiving but it is still worrying, especially with the way Alfie is now. These next few weeks really will be make or break for Alfie’s dream.”
Any businesses willing to donate vouchers and gifts or would like to make a donation can call in at the shop Monday to Friday - except Wednesday - between 10am and 3pm.