A £25,000 campaign has been launched to give a disabled teenager and his family a home which will transform their lives.
Craig Rennoldson, 14, from Seaham, was born with the umbilical cord around his neck, starving his brain of oxygen in his first moments.
It has left him with cerebral palsy and he is also registered blind, has epilepsy, is unable to walk or talk and is fed through a peg in his stomach.
As he grows, it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry him up and down stairs, with his family - mum Lisa Henry, 46, step-dad Jonathan Rennoldson, 47, and siblings Sarah Rennoldson, 15, Jonathan Henry, 16, Anna Henry, 21, Liam Henry, 27, Kathryn Henry, 24 - now launching an appeal to fund an extension.
The planned ground floor bedroom at their Westlea home would follow a bathroom already designed for him, with the new space to be big enough so that hoists can be used to help lift him. It could also see sensory equipment installed to help Craig’s wellbeing.
Anna is joining her workmates at the Coalhouse pub, in Church Street, to host a celebration of live music, entertainment and guest speakers on Sunday, February 24, with an online donation page also set up to gather funds for the Hope Wood Academy pupil.
We all love Craig so so much, he lights up the whole room with his lovely little laugh.Anna Henry
The family is being supported by the Bradley Lowery Foundation in its efforts after Craig’s loved ones first got in touch with the charity when it offered families with ill children a chance to use its box at the Stadium of Light and a conversation was struck up about their proposal.
Anna, who also works as a teaching assistant at Grangetown Primary, said: “If we get the extension, it’s going to be amazing because Craig has had spinal surgery and needed rods in his back and he’s had his hip redone, so it will mean it will stop him from being in pain when he’s lifted up.
“It’s hard for my Mam, she’s only tiny, and Craig is a heavyweight, so it’s hard to get him up and down stairs, so my step-dad has to do it, and it’s for their health as well as Craig’s.
“It’s also unsafe for him and undignified for him to be taken up and down the stairs.”
Lisa, who works with disabled people so they can live independently, and Jonathan, a welder, are delighted hundreds of pounds have already been raised through the donations page.
Anna added: “Craig is amazing.
“He loves spending time with the family.
“He has such a funny personality, he absolutely loves music and his favourite bands are Snow Patrol and Coldplay.
“He really enjoys going to school.
“He also has a favourite toy, it’s a little teddy lamb which we call Lamby.
“He’s been a big comfort for Craig during his big operations.
“We all love Craig so so much, he lights up the whole room with his lovely little laugh.
“We all just want him to have a healthy happy life.”
The fundraiser at the Coalhouse will start at 2pm and will also feature a live auction, free food and a raffle.
Donations can be pledged via www.justgiving.com/campaign/caring4craig.