A youngster with Down’s Syndrome is about celebrate becoming a teenager with a little help from a Sunderland social enterprise.
Steven Harrison turns 13 on Monday, but his mum Nicola, 45, is planning a party for her lad this coming weekend.
The Fulwell youngster, who attends Portland Academy, was born with the genetic disorder which is caused by an extra chromosome.
Nicola said: “Steven’s Down’s Syndrome affects his ability to learn – he has a learning disability.
“He also suffers lots of chest infections over the year and is regularly hospitalised. He is prescribed antibiotics throughout the winter.”
Nicola, who has single-handedly brought up Steven and twins Lucy and Thomas, who will be 12 in June, has scrimped and saved for the party.
I’ve been approached by so many of the mums saying how much it means to them, because when you have disabled children, they never get invited anywhere – they never go to partiesNicola Harrison, mum
Nicola, a nursing assistant at Hopewood Park Hospital in Ryhope, said: “There is just over a year between Steven and the twins, and as a single mum, it’s been a struggle, I’m not going to lie.
“But it’s his 13th birthday and he is going to be a teenager and I want him to have something special.
“I think it will mean the world, not only to Steven, but for all the disabled kids to be together.”
And she was delighted when Richard Aslett from Positive Steps Community Transport got in touch on Facebook to offer the use of its party bus.
The plan is for the bus to drive around the streets prior to Steven’s party at The Albion, in Roker, on Saturday.
Nicola said: “It will be all his friends from school and the Saturday morning group at the Priestman.
“All children have some sort of disability.
“I’ve been approached by so many of the mums saying how much it means to them, because when you have disabled children, they never get invited anywhere – they never go to parties. This means so much to all of us.
“I just want to thank Positive Steps for letting us have the bus for free.
“They do so much for the community and also for the elderly and they deserve the recognition.”
Positive Steps Community Transport is a not-for-profit organisation, which provide coach and minibus hire, using the money generated to help people who are socially excluded, disadvantaged and or from socially depraved backgrounds.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/positivestepcommunitytransport