The memory of an inspirational Sunderland youngster is helping to improve the lives of others five years on.
The Joseph George Fucile Fund was set up just a few short months after the 16-month-old died in October 2012.
His parents, Darren and Janine, have continued to battle through the fund to ensure their son’s memory will live on in helping other youngsters with special needs.
The fund has raised more than £30,000 so far and touched the lives of scores of children in the region and their families.
Among the latest to benefit from Joseph’s fund is nine-year-old Hartlepool youngster, James Fewster-Smith, who suffers from MASA syndrome, a neurological disorder, and needed a specialised bed.
And disabled Durham youngster Ali Hafiz, who recieved £215 from the fund to help towards getting his Wizzybug, a specialised wheelchair for small children.
Without this kind of support we couldn’t continue to help some very special childrenDarren Fucile
Darren, 43, said he is very grateful to everyone who helps the charity, including property company, Gemini, which has offered a package to use the Stadium of Light box, worth more than £1,000, which the charity is currently raffling off.
Darren said: “The guys from Gemini have been great they have also given us tickets for Newcastle Falcons and signed memorabilia to auction off.
“It is great to see local businesses supporting local charities. Without this kind of support we couldn’t continue to help some very special children.”
Members of the fund already have several charity events lined up for this year, including Sunderland’s half marathon and the Great North Run.
Joseph suffered from a form of Rett Syndrome known as MeCP2, and had respiratory problems, seizures and low muscle tone.
Darren and Janine, 42, who are also parents to 17-year-old Alicia, knew Joseph wouldn’t live very long and say they were lucky to have him as long as they did.
The Ashbrooke couple had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his ventilators when he became too ill to pull through.
Darren, who works in Durham, said: “Not only has the fund-raising kept Joseph’s memory alive. It has also let us meet some really inspirational people and beautiful children.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the raffle for the football prize, which is for four people to the Sunderland v Swansea Game in May, including four course meals and drinks, should visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/darren-fucilecharityrafflehelpsomespecialchildren where for every £5 donated there will be one entry into the draw.
And to find out more about the charity visit www.josephgeorgefucilefund.org.uk.