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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Delight at gifts to help soothe Walney toddler Luiz’s condition

THE delighted mum of a toddler with special needs saw a wistful Facebook post turn into £300 worth of sensory toys.

Janine Da Silva, from Oakhead Road, Walney, posted on the social networking site that she wished she could win the lottery to buy her son Luiz special toys to help with his suspected autism.

Joanne Holmes, mum of 11-year-old Harrison Holmes who featured in the Evening Mail last month, saw the post on New Year’s Eve and decided to help out.

Ms Da Silva, 34, said: “I got a message from Joanne saying they would buy us the toys. I had no idea that anyone would do anything like that when I posted it. I was really shocked, and I did a lot of crying!”

The charity Harrison’s Fun Fund ordered a ‘dark tent’ and toys aimed at calming and soothing Luiz, who has a rare chromosome deletion and is awaiting diagnosis for autism.

“Luiz has lots of problems with sensory issues and with new people being in the house. The toys help to calm him down and help settle him before bed time, which is a lot of stress off my shoulders.

“If people come in the house he can start screaming, but the tent gives him a place to hide and calm himself down,” said Ms Da Silva.

The charity was founded after Harrison, who has Cerebral Palsy and numerous other health problems, had his specially adapted bike stolen before Christmas.

The charity was originally intended to focus on providing bikes for disabled children, but after seeing Ms Da Silva’s post Mrs Holmes decided to use the fund to help families with any aspect of improving their children’s lives.

Harrison’s Fun Fund is going through the process of becoming a registered charity, but has set up a bank account and raised more than £2,000 so far.

Three bikes have already been purchased through the fund, but two more lucky youngsters will receive a new bike over the next few weeks.

Mrs Holmes said: “My Niece and I have been really enjoying giving youngsters the new bikes since we started this and we just want to keep on going and helping children.”

Mrs Holmes said: “I saw Janine’s post and it just gave me the idea that we could branch out, because not every disabled child can ride a bike.

“Luiz’s mum was absolutely made up. Autism is such a complex condition and these sensory toys really help.”

Ms Da Silva added: “It’s great to know that this kind of support is out there. With his condition not being diagnosed we don’t really have any medical support. I would like to say a massive thank you to Harrison’s Fun Fund and all the people who donated.”

Anyone with any fundraising ideas for Harrison’s Fun Fund can contact Joanne Holmes on 07445 812855.

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