A devoted mum has been left overwhelmed by the generosity of people who rallied round after heartless thieves stole her disabled daughter’s hot tub.
A community was left reeling in shock when callous thieves took the inflatable tub from a garden in Seaham which was used to ease the suffering of a severely disabled five-year-old.
I am beyond overwhelmed by the kind messages and support I have hadMel Jones
Single mum Mel Jones was heartbroken when she realised the equipment, which she bought to help her daughter Amy, who has severe cerebral palsy and is registered blind, had been taken from her garden.
But, when news of the theft spread, donations came pouring in to replace the £300 second-hand tub.
To date, more than £1,200 has been pledged to a fundraising page so Amy, and her seven-year-old sister, Lauren, who is autistic, can have a new tub.
Mel, 39, said: “I am beyond overwhelmed by the kind messages and support I have had. There are some amazing people in the world and for them to donate money to help my daughters is just wonderful.
“I started the fundraising page because people were asking how they could send me some money to help. I never thought I would get enough to replace the hot tub, never mind such a huge amount.”
Mel plans to not only buy a new hot tub, but house it in a secure wooden shed with sensory lights and music for Amy to enjoy, which can be used all year round.
The five-year-old was born prematurely and caught meningitis leaving her with a huge range of health problems, including epilepsy and a metal shunt in her head, and has to be fed exclusively through a tube to her stomach.
Her mum saved up the money to buy the original hot tub because Amy’s muscles go into very painful spasms and the warm water helps to release them.
Although disgusted that someone could steal her daughter’s equipment, Mel said the support she has had from people, some as far away as Ireland and Wales, has been fantastic.
She said: “I just can’t put into words how overwhelming it has been and how grateful I am. People, many of them strangers, have been willing to give me their last and I just can’t believe it.
“Sometimes you feel your whole world is caving in and you are on your own and then something like this makes you realise there are people who care.”
The tub was taken from the family’s Portland Avenue house in Deneside between the evening of Thursday, July 21, and the following morning, and anyone with information is urged to contact the police.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to create the hot tub and sensory space for Amy should visit www.gofundme.com/2ekbter8.