Charity set up in Sunderland boy’s memory is helping sick youngsters

Darren and Janine Fucile with a picture of their son Joseph.
Darren and Janine Fucile with a picture of their son Joseph.
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The memory of an inspirational youngster is continuing to help other sick children through the charity set up in his name.

The Joseph George Fucile Fund was set up at the end of 2012 shortly after the 16-month-old youngster’s death.

Toys delivered to Sunderland Royal Hospital from the Joseph George Fucile Fund.

Toys delivered to Sunderland Royal Hospital from the Joseph George Fucile Fund.

Since then the fund, started by his devoted Wearside parents Darren and Janine, has raised more than £25,000 to help sick and disabled children.

Through the money raised, the charity buys specialised toys and equipment to make life easier for children with special needs.

The latest batch of toys was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital this month, one of the places where Joseph was cared for during his short life.

Darren, 42, who lives in High Barnes, Sunderland, said: “The sensory toys and equipment were for the kids on ward F65, somewhere that Joseph spent a lot of time and where the staff did an awful lot for him.

“At the time there were very few toys available for the kids to play with and help them develop.

“The staff at the hospital were over the moon with the toys.”

Joseph suffered from a form of Rett Syndrome known as MeCP2, and had respiratory problems, seizures and low muscle tone.

Darren and Janine, 41, who are also parents to 16-year-old Alicia, knew Joseph wouldn’t live very long and say they were lucky to have him as long as they did.

The couple had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his ventilators when he became too ill to pull through in October 2012.

Just two months later they started the fund-raising and after raising £25,000 they have no intention of stopping any time soon.

Darren, who works at Dalton Park, said: “We really love running the charity and it is always lovely to keep Joseph’s memory arrive.

“You never get over the grief, but the charity helps us. It is great to know that something good has come out of something that was so terrible.

“We already have events lined up for 2016.”

On Saturday Darren and Janine were part of a group of 30 family, friends and supporters who braved the freezing sea to take part in Sunderland’s Boxing Day Dip to raise money for the fund.

And, a group of them will be taking part in the Great North Run.

l To find out more about the charity or make a donation, visit www.josephgeorgefucilefund.org.uk.