The Brittle Bone Society, Tony Swallow, Rotherham Sales Team
This is William and Alfie, my two heroes. I think most people, myself included don't give disability a second thought until it comes knocking on your door, its life changing.
William's condition, Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bones) is a life long condition, it's genetic and comes in various severities, William's being one of the worst types. It was touch and go whether William would survive his birth, thankfully for us he did, so the miracle just keeps on giving. He's had several bone fractures already in his short life and covid impacted on the physical therapy he receives. He may or may not be able to walk but if and when he does, the tears will be flowing.
The Brittle Bone Society, amongst other things, gave us great assistance in getting William's current wheelchair. My wife and daughter are the backbone of the family and without them I don't know where we'd be. William is a happy little chap, gets on with life as best he can with the able assistance of his wingman Alfie.
The Brittle Bone Society website is the place to get a better understanding of the condition and on behalf of my family and myself, I can't thank you enough for your donations to both charities, really, really appreciated.
Tiny Lives, Gareth Clarkson, Blyth Sales Team
Meet my two sons, Jax & Myles, who were born prematurely two years apart both weighing the exact same weight at 3lbs 13oz. They both needed to spend time on the Neonatal ward at the RVI for a period of time during which we were supported by Tiny Lives.
Although with Jax we knew we may need to spend a bit of time in hospital due to going back and forward to fetal medicine during the pregnancy, we never really expected it with Myles.
So, Jax came along 8 weeks premature and for the next 8 weeks we would spend every day on ward 35.
Going in to the Neonatal ward and seeing your newborn in an incubator hooked up to all sorts of machines for the first time before you've even held them is a total shock to the system. Cue Tiny Lives. They gave us the help and support to get through the next 8 weeks.
Two years later along came Myles. This time 6 weeks premature during the first few months of covid. Dad was only allowed to see him for an hour and for the next 17 days Myles and my partner, Michelle, would spend more time on ward 35. Again, this was a really tough time for us all but I had that reassurance from the first time that they would both be supported by Tiny Lives.
I decided that once the boys were fit an well, I would have to give something back so last yeat myself and a group of friends raised over 3.5k walking from Bowness on Solway to Tynemouth along Hadrian's wall in support of Tiny Lives. This was my way of saying thank you for the help and support they have my family.
As of 2020, the charity supports over 750 babies and their families annually, and aims to raise £350,000 a year to maintain this support.