52 Lives

#182 Leon

Request: Donations towards renovations / Bedroom things / Messages

This week, we’d like to help a 7 year old boy from Leeds called Leon.

Just after his second birthday, Leon was diagnosed with multi suture craniosynostosis. It is a condition where the joints in a baby’s skull fuse too early, which causes problems with brain growth and head shape. He had surgery to rebuild his skull when he was 3, and when he was 4 he was diagnosed with epilepsy. He has seizures day and night. Leon also has autism, sensory issues and is delayed in his development. He has been in and out of hospital for his entire life.

Leon was home-schooled until January of this year, when he joined the same primary school as 2 of his sisters. He now attends 3 days a week with full support, which is an incredible achievement for him.

Leon uses a wheelchair when he is out and about, and is about to be fitted for a protective helmet due to his seizures. His mum, Sam, said: “Even with all of his 'issues,' he is an adorable little boy. He never complains and everyone who meets him loves him.”

Sam is his full-time carer, but on top of caring for Leon and his siblings, she has her own challenges to face. Sam had a spinal chord injury and had surgery last year. It has left her with very little feeling in her hands and weakness down her left side. So Leon’s dad, Mark, juggles work, school runs and helping to care for Leon and his brothers and sisters.

They live in a council home which they would desperately love to renovate. Leon currently sleeps in his parent’s room, as at the moment it is the safest place for him to be. But they would like him to start sharing a bedroom with his big brother. As it is, the room wouldn’t be safe for Leon. The room needs redecorating, custom bunk beds built (no sharp corners, low to the floor), blinds for the windows, fitted wardrobes to make optimum use of the small space, and some toy storage. Mark has the skills and determination to do the work himself, but they don’t have the extra money to buy the materials they need.

“We just want Leon to feel like he has some independence, while also keeping him safe. We need to do it in a way that his older brother doesn’t feel like he is in a little boy’s room. We know we can do it, we just don’t have the funds to get started!” Sam said.

The boys’ birthdays are early next year, and they would love to get the work finished by then. With your help, we would like to help give Leon and his big brother their new bedroom. 

What We Need

1. Donations towards materials: We need to buy wood and other building materials, paint, wallpaper, a blind and mattresses. If we raise more than is needed for the renovations, we will use any extra money to help Leon and his family in other ways, such as buying a video monitor to make sure Leon is safe during the night. To make a donation, please click the link below. 100% of what you give will be used to help this family. 

2. Paint / Wallpaper: if any kind companies would be willing to provide the paint and wallpaper they need, please fill in the form below and let us know. 

3. Furnishings for their bedroom: We have set up an Amazon wishlist with a small number of things Leon and his brother need for their bedroom, as well as some gift cards so their mum and dad can choose some of the bigger things they need. To buy a gift or gift card, please click the link below. (If you are unsure how to buy from an Amazon wishlist, we have produced this handy guide!)

4. Messages: We would love to send Leon and his family some kind messages, offering encouragement for Leon - who has been an incredibly brave little boy - and support for his amazing mum and dad, who do so much to care for Leon and his siblings. Messages can be emailed to us by writing them in the form below (we will pass your message along, but not your contact details) or they can be posted to 52 Lives (Life # 182), PO Box 3154, Reading, RG1 9AT. Thank you so much - you never know how much difference a few kind words can make.

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What We Did

Thanks to all of you, this is what we did:

- We received more than £220 in Amazon gifts and gift cards.

- We raised £672 in donations - which didn't hit the £1300 target amount we needed. But I then opened an email from someone we recently helped.....a lovely woman called Cathy (we helped Cathy and her son Luke to furnish their flat after they had to flee their home and leave eveything behind). Cathy asked if the last £200 in donations we received for her could instead be given to Leon. She said...

"I have had such generous people help me to get back on my feet. I have everything and more that I need to build a future for me and my son I would love to see the money go towards something that can help littleLeon. Thankyou for everything you and everyone have really helped turn my life around." ~ Cathy

- A wonderful woman called Alison, who is the head teacher at Hyde Heath Infants School, recently celebrated a big birthday and instead of asking for gifts, she held a ball and asked her friends to donate funds to 52 Lives. They raised an incredible £1700 and we will be using some of those funds to help us reach our final fundraising target for Leon. Thank you so much to Ali and all of her wonderful friends who donated.

- A lovely lady called Sarah got in touch just before Christmas to offer some help for the family as well. She donated £100 Argos gift card, as well as £100 donation towards a gift card for groceries for the family, to help make their Christmas a little bit easier. 

- And finally, we received so many lovely messages for Leon and his family - thank you to everyone who took the time to send one. xx

I'll share some more photos and a message from the family once the building work is finished. Thank you so much everyone!

When I told Leon's mum that they will be able to go ahead and start the renovations, she said "I am beaming! It's a long time since I have smiled so much.... thank you thank you thank you!"