YOU’VE done it!
The fantastic people of Hartlepool have raised the £5,000 needed to make little Callum Smith’s dream come true.
In fact, a tremendous surge of fundraising has seen the Mail’s Callum’s Dream Appeal soar to almost £7,500.
But the fight to raise more cash goes on as Callum has many more requirements and his needs will continue for years to come.
For now, though, the 22-month-old boy who touched the hearts of hundreds of people across Hartlepool can have the sensory room he needs - filled with lights, projectors and fibre optics - to change his life for the better.
Among the latest mega donations to push us beyond the £5,000 mark were £900 from the Hartlepool branch of Round Table.
Then, there was a fantastic £600 from Epilepsy Outlook, the charity which launched the campaign in association with the Hartlepool Mail.
Another £245 came from fundraising at a town One Stop Shop.
The three latest donations were on top of the £5,742 already placed in the official Callum’s Dream bank account.
And the good news does not stop there. More events are planned right through until this Autumn to raise even more money for a little boy whose needs are ongoing.
Today, Callum’s proud mum Zoe Neesam, 21, said: “I am astonished at how generous people have been. I am speechless.
“In such a short space of time, people have been so generous in giving up so much money. People have been getting in touch with me all the time saying that they are planning their own events.”
It is only a month since we launched the challenge, in association with town charity Epilepsy Outlook, to raise the money needed for a sensory room in the Laird Road home of Callum’s parents, Zoe and Luke Smith, 23, who are both his registered carers.
Jacqui Gettings, the project manager for Epilepsy Outlook, said: “This has been a truly amazing appeal and Callum’s dream can come true.
“We are still counting the money that is coming in and there are more sponsored events on the way. It has been phenomenal.”
It was Jacqui’s emotional speech to members of the Hartlepool branch of Round Table which persuaded members to make a donation to the appeal.
She told how Callum has epilepsy and numerous other conditions, and how in his short life, he has been in hospital almost as often as at home.
He’s only just returned to the family residence in Laird Road, Hartlepool, after 12 weeks of intensive care when his lung collapsed.
At one point, say his family, doctors advised them to have him Christened in case his days were numbered.
He now needs round-the-clock care from his parents.
Round Table branch chairman Kevin Cox said: “It was a unanimous decision by our members that we should support this.
“It is an excellent cause and it is exactly what we are there for.”
Callum’s mum Zoe explained why it is important that support for Callum goes on.
“He needs specialists car seats and, as he grows, his needs may change depending on whether his head control gets better and whether he needs spinal support. There are so many different things he may need.”
TO SUPPORT Callum’s Dream you can:
l Give donations to the Epilepsy Outlook charity shops at 199 York Road, and 104 Oxford Road, both in Hartlepool.
l Pay straight into the account at Lloyds TSB branch in York Road.
The account details are:
Account Name – Epilepsy Outlook Project.
Sort Code – 30-99-47.
Account number – 24594260.