AN X Factor boy band have been so touched by the plight of a Sunderland toddler that they will perform free at a fund-raising gig.
The Risk have waived their fee for an event being staged by the parents of 18-month-old Jake Barker, to thank the hospital unit which saved his life.
The gig at the Stadium of Light will be a return to an old stomping ground for band member Ashford Campbell, whose brother Fraizer was recently sold to Cardiff City from SAFC.
“Me and the boys are up performing in a couple weeks,” he said. “Can’t wait to be back at the stadium.”
The band garnered an ardent fan base after appearing in the X Factor in 2011. They earned more Wearside supporters after appearing at an open-air concert to kick off last year’s airshow in Seaburn.
Jake’s dad David, 21, of Hendon, said the family is delighted that they agreed to perform at their charity night on March 29.
“They were on our wish list of acts to perform and we were over the moon when they said they would do it for free,” he said.
David and Jake’s mum Rachel Martin were inspired to help the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (Chuf), which raises money for the heart unit at Freeman Hospital, after medics there saved Jake’s life.
Rachael, now 19, found out at her 20-week scan that Jake had heart problems.
When the tot was born, he was diagnosed with a ventricular septal defect, where the area between the two sections of the heart fails to develop, and a small right ventricle, among other conditions.
Jake had surgery when he was just five weeks old and has since had another operation at the unit.
He will require more on his fragile heart as he gets older.
His family have now thrown themselves into raising life-saving funds for the unit.
The charity night will include May Arcade and tribute act The Reet Hot Chilli Peppers, and a football talk-in with Kevin Ball and Darren Williams.
l Tickets are £20 for adults and £10 for kids, from Sun FM in the Bic or by calling 07534 633 478.