We are asking you, our readers, to get behind a new Spalding Guardian Children’s Fund appeal to help two very special little boys.
Ben and Toby Smith are eight and five years old, but have a myriad of health problems which mean they are still in nappies and unable to walk, talk or feed themselves.
Their parents Darren and Julia face a daily struggle to overcome the challenges their two lovely little boys face.
We are hoping to ease that daily struggle in one small way by launching an appeal for £4,000 to help them buy a walk-in bath.
We will kick off the fundraising with a £1,000 from our Children’s Fund – a charitable fund set up to help children in need in our circulation area.
We now need your help to bring in the next £3,000.
We know times are tough – but even a small contribution will make a huge difference to the lives of Ben and Toby, as well as their big sister Molly and parents Julia and Darren.
As the boys grow Julia is finding it more difficult to lift them into the family bath at their home in Pennygate.
A special walk-in bath would ease that and allow Ben and Toby to continue enjoying their bath time.
Julia said: “It would mean the world to us to have a walk-in bath fitted.
“Our lives are never going to be easy because of the boys’ disabilities, but this would be one small step to make it easier.”
Toby and Ben both suffer from global development delay, but both are still undergoing a barrage of tests to try to put a name to the underlying cause of all their health problems.
Cerebral palsy has been mentioned by doctors but Julia and Darren still have no definitive diagnosis and so get on with their lives the best they can just looking after the boys’ everyday needs.
Ben also has autism and is facing an operation next year on his twisted leg bones which mean his feet face outwards at 180 degrees.
He has also just been diagnosed with a problem with his hip joints.
Julia said: “They are both fighters and determined little boys and we just get on with day to day.
“They have almost identical health problems, but such different character – Toby loves cuddles but with Ben it has to be on his terms because of the autism.
“We have our own house and Darren works hard to pay the bills and provide for us, but there is not much left at the end of the month for extra such as a new bath.
“I get carer’s allowance, but you only get it for one child even though I care for both of them.
“We have been told we could get lots more benefits if Darren didn’t work, but we want to pay our own way and support our family.
“But it’s hard and we are so grateful to the Children’s Fund for the help.”
If you wish to donate to Ben and Toby’s Appeal, please make cheques payable to the Lincolnshire Free Press Children’s Fund and write Ben and Toby on the envelope.
Send or deliver your donations to our office at Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding, Lincs, PE11 1AB.
You could also help by organising a fundraising event at your school, club or pub – maybe a non-uniform day, table top sale, coffee morning or raffle.
If you do, let us know in advance so we can publicise it for you – perhaps we can come along and take pictures while you are having fun fundraising.