Horsham community rallies to help Leo

Leo Lake SUS-151002-102731001
Leo Lake SUS-151002-102731001
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A mother has thanked the Horsham community for their ‘amazing support’ after rallying together to help her son get a life-changing piece of equipment.

Leo Lake, seven, from Horsham, thought he had missed out on owning his very own SMART Brailler after he was unable to collect enough votes to win an online competition last week.

But thanks to a campaign set up and supported by people in the town, just a few days later the youngster had more than enough money to be able to afford the £1,500 machine.

Leo’s mother Hannah Lake said she was surprised and overjoyed with the generosity of the community and wanted to thank everyone who had supported her son over the past couple of weeks.

She said: “I was very surprised, I did not expect that response from everyone. I was extremely proud when I found out about it, I just couldn’t believe people would put their time and money in to help us.

“It restores your faith in humanity especially with so many horrible things going on in the world.

“I would like to thank everyone for their amazing support. He is gorgeous and really deserves it.”

Leo was diagnosed with a severe condition at birth meaning he was left partially-sighted.

Leo’s eyesight will continue to deteriorate throughout his life and Hannah said he will need the brailler to help him learn and communicate in the future.

She entered her son into a competition to try the new SMART Brailler ‘Marty’ and saw the difference the machine could make.

She said: “When the SMART Brailler was with us Leo’s braille skills went from strength to strength, suddenly he wanted to braille.

“Unlike the original Perkins Brailler the SMART Brailler is lighter and it has audio feedback so each letter, word and sentence is spoken to the child as he goes.

“After two weeks we sent ‘Marty’ on to the next family. Leo was chuffed that another child would get to have a go, I was a little sad to say goodbye to something that had made such a difference.”

After testing the equipment Leo was then entered into another competition to find the brailler a new home but unfortunately missed out.

In response a donation page was set up by Tony Istead and Steve Goodwin to raise money for Leo and within a few hours donations came pouring in.

Hannah said: “I think he had enough for a Brailler within 24 hours. Most of that must have come from the Horsham Facebook page.

“Support, votes and donations have generously come from far and wide but without the people of Horsham I don’t believe we would have been able to do it.

“I am very grateful for everybody who donated, voted and shared it on Facebook and I am especially grateful for Tony and Steve who set up the donation page.”

The campaign has not stopped there. Donations continue to pour in and Hannah said she wants to use the money to buy SMART Braillers for other children in desperate need of the machines.

To donate visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-leo-friends-see-the-world-with-a-brailler