A COURAGEOUS schoolboy with a rare condition has inspired a fund-raising drive to boost facilities at a Wearside school.
Four-year-old Callum Kelly, from Oxclose, Washington, has been diagnosed with a form of autism which means he cannot tolerate solids or liquids in the normal way.
While his pals tuck into treats such as chips, chocolate and ice cream, Callum has to be fed a nutrient-packed liquid through a tube into his stomach,
Moved by his bravery, his family and friends have launched a charity campaign in aid of Sunningdale School, Springwell, where he is a pupil.
Dad John, 30, said he has been overwhelmed by support for the drive, particularly from staff and players at Washington Colliery FC.
“It’s going incredibly well,” he said. “We can’t thank people enough for coming out and supporting us. As well as the club, which has been amazing, we’ve also had support from local businesses, including pubs, shops and restaurants.
“We’ve really only just started, but a race night which we held brought in about £450 and we’re also arranging a coast-to-coast cycle ride.
“We want to help the school in any way we can and, hopefully, we can raise a lot of money for them.”
John, who works in sales, said his son had coped well several operations and was responding well to treatment.
“We had a really good Christmas,” he said. “I think Callum is still a bit baffled by it all. He sometimes gets a bit confused, but he enjoyed opening his presents and spending time with his family.
Callum, who is cared for round the clock by mum Rachael, 26, is also enjoying school life and has been quick to pick up sign language.
“He’s settled into it incredibly well,” said John. “He loves every minute of it and couldn’t wait to get back after the Christmas holidays.
“The staff there are fantastic.”