Sunderland family’s £20,000 fundraiser to install bedroom lift for battling Alfie

The family of a five-year-old boy who is unable to walk are hoping to raise the thousands of pounds needed to install a lift into the bedroom he shares with his twin brother.

By Poppy Kennedy
Monday, 20 May, 2019, 06:00
Alfie Doran with mum Sophie.

A week after little Alfie Doran’s first birthday his devoted parents were told the youngster has Baliteral Spastic Cerebral Palsy - which affects him from the chin down.

The brave Sunderland boy also has epilepsy and a variable squint and is very prone to chest infections.

The family has set up a fundraising appeal to pay for the lift

The ‘cheerful’ five-year-old is unable to walk and as he grows older and bigger, his parents, Sophie Dow and Michael Doran, are struggling to carry him up the stairs every night to the bedroom he shares with his twin Brody-Lee.

Now the family have been given planning permission to install a lift directly into the youngster’s room.

But they need to raise the thousands of pounds themselves, as they aren’t able to receive government funding - with their home having already been adapted before they moved in three years ago.

Mum Sophie, 26, said: “Alfie has severe cerebral palsy in all four limbs. He was diagnosed just a week after his first birthday, though at the time we didn’t know if he’d be able to walk.

Alfie is always making people laugh

“We got a house that has a downstairs room and a wet room, but getting Alfie up to his bedroom every night so we’re all close together is becoming a real challenge.

“Gentoo have now said we can have the lift and we have been granted planning permission, but the government aren’t able to fund it.

“The government team we’ve spoken to have said they’d love to give us the funds we need, but rules and regulations prevent it because of the adaptions already made to the house - which we understand completely.

“We’re now trying to raise the money to get a lift straight into his bedroom so we can all stay on the same level.

Alfie with his mum Sophie and twin brother Brody-Lee

“He weighs more than three stone now, which is around a third of my own weight, so it’s becoming a struggle.”

The family have partnered with the Bradley Lowery Foundation, which has backed the cause and is doing all it can to aid the family.

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So far more than £1,200 of the £20,000 target has been raised in just over a week, and any money raised over what is needed for the lift will go towards adapting the garden.

That meansAlfie, who attends Oxclose Primary Academy, will be able to make full use of it in his motorised wheelchair.

They're hoping to get a lift installed straight into Alfie's bedroom

Gemma Lowery, who set up the foundation in memory of her son, said: “Alfie’s family are fundraising to have a lift installed in their home. This will not only help Alfie as he gets older, but his family too.

“People in the North East are amazing when it comes to helping people, so I know it won’t be too long before he has his new lift.”

Alfie is full of joy and adores playing and laughing with his brother Brody-Lee.

Sophie added: “He’s such a fun little boy, everyone loves him. He’s always having a chat and making everyone laugh.

“He can get frustrated at times, but what kid doesn’t in his position?“Alfie and Brody-Lee love each other very much, and want to spend every waking moment together.

“So this will make a huge difference to Alfie. He doesn’t want to miss being with his brother at bedtime, talking all night and getting up to mischief when he should be sleeping.

Alfie and Brody-Lee

“All the support we’ve had so far has been amazing and we’d like to thank Lizzie and Ryan Turley, who completed the Sunderland half marathon last weekend to raise money for Alfie.”

So far the family have organised a number of events, including a sponsored walk from the Glass Centre at Sunderland to Seaburn Morrisons, which will take place on Thursday, May 30 at 1pm.

A coffee morning will also take place on Thursday, June 6, from 11am to 1pm at the Pennywell Youth Project, in Petersfield Road.

There will be raffles, tombola, bingo as well as tea, coffee and cakes.

To find out more about the fundraiser or to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/aliftforealfie or see the Facebook page Alfies Adventures.