A Sunderland mum is raising funds to say ‘thank you’ for the support given to her autistic son.
Amy Hossack set out to raise £100 for Include ‘in’ Autism which runs weekly sessions at the Downhill Centre, in Kilarney Square, and provides online advice.
But the mum-of-two has already surpassed her target and hopes to now raise £500 when she gives up alcohol for the month of October.
Her four-year-old son, Aaron Rochester, was diagnosed with autism in January 2017, when he was just three.
Amy, 26, who is also mum to Poppy, 11 months, said: “I have a son with autism and I was really struggling to find places to go.
“There were places in Newcastle, but Poppy was too little, which is when I found Include ‘in’ Autism.
“They’ve supported my son massively. If I’ve had any concerns they’re always there to give advice.
“They’ve been like an extended family to us, they’ve just helped us so much.
“Doctors would say Aaron is in his own little world, his own bubble, but the group have helped massively.
“Now he tries to engage and make eye contact with people. It’s really made an impact on him, it’s a massive part of his life.”
So far Amy, who works as a health care assistant, has raised £390, which will go towards the running of the not-for-profit organisation.
Marie Jevon, the founder of Include ‘in’ Autism, says the organisation supports 208 families across the North East.
It costs £5,000 a year to keep the sessions running, and any money they don’t manage to bring in through fundraising comes out of Marie’s pocket.
She said: “We are desperate for more volunteers and we’re looking for anyone who can put time in.
“It’s unbelievable. I can never thank the volunteers enough.
“When I talk about them I get emotional, it touches your heart.”
She added: “Aaron has come such a long way.
“His communication and his social skills have improved, and it’s prepared him for his first day of school.
“Amy is an angel in disguise, she’s one of the good eggs you meet in life.
“Aaron is one of our real success stories - they’re just a lovely family.”
Amy, who lives in Farringdon, will give up alcohol throughout October after being inspired by Dry January.
She added: “One thing I do enjoy is a gin night with my friends, and I’d seen a lot of fundraisers such as Dry January to raise money.
“I originally set the target at £100 and I thought I would do it in October so it gave a bit of time for me to raise the money.
“I’ve already raised £390, which is amazing. People have blown me away with their generosity.”
To donate, visit Amy’s Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/raising-money-for-include-in-autism