A woman who helps lead her family firm is calling on fellow businesses to dig deep to help a youngster who has left medics stumped over his condition.
Zak McCarthy, from Bournmoor, is part of a genetic study and is being monitored by Great Ormond Street Hospital as doctors try and identify what is the cause of his health issues.
His family sought help after noticing he did not smile as a baby and tears rolled down his face as he was fed.
Since then, it has been established he has autism, and his difficulties include not being able to walk unaided or speak and he has to be fed via a tube into his stomach.
While his loved ones work alongside doctors to try and pinpoint the cause of his problems, they have started to collect cash which will be used to buy equipment and kit out his home and garden to keep him safe and comfortable.
A Go Fund Me page set up by his gran Denise Jackson, 56, has already seen more than £1,300 raised for the two-year-old.
I wanted to thank her for what she had done for him, and I thought this would put a big smile on her face and her family’s.Janette Husband
That includes £500 donated by Janette Husband, through her company Wilf Husband, an aggregates firm based in Houghton, after she became friends with Denise.
The pair met when Denise, an auxiliary nurse at Houghton Health Centre, helped treat Janette’s father Wilf, as he battled prostate cancer.
The 73-year-old died in June, with the family firm supporters of cancer charities after losing his wife and Janette’s mum Anne, 65, to pancreatic cancer in 2010.
Their support saw Janette, 50, from Houghton, become the winning bidder of a miniature version of Seaham’s Tommy statue created and auctioned off by their creator Ray Lonsdale in aid of the Bradley Lowery’s Fight Against Neuroblastoma fund, gifting £6,500 to the fund through the fundraiser.
Her daughter Naomi Parry, 22, raised funds through the Ultra White Collar Boxing contest.
She hopes others will follow her lead and back Zak’s campaign.
Janette, who also works alongside her bother Wilf, 43, and a team of lorry drivers, said: “Denise treated my dad and we got talking and I realised what problems she was going through herself with Zak. I wanted to thank her for what she had done for him, and I thought this would put a big smile on her face and her family’s.
“I would say to anyone to everyone, help Denise.
“I can’t put into words knowing what it’s like to help a child.” Zak, who lives with mum Josene, 25, her partner Callum Smith, 23, and siblings Kye McCarthy, six, and Darcy Smith, eight months, is in need of an outdoor walker and special bed.
It is hoped firms will offer their support in kind, as well as donations.
Denise, who is a grandmother of seven, said: “He has had such a hard time of it, but we really need somewhere he can step about in a walker outdoor safely, so we are hoping to get some wetpour ground done when they move home soon, as oppose to concrete, which is all we can afford, and that isn’t safe for Zak.
“Funding or a company willing to do this would be a massive help for him as that is what we are hoping to achieve, as well as everything little Zak needs.’’
Donations can be made to Zakv via www.gofundme.com/y8gjy8g.