An ‘amazed’ mother whose son has a potentially life-limiting disease says she ‘can’t put into words’ her appreciation after two Horsham district locals raised money for the family to go to Disney World in Florida.
Between them, good Samaritans Sally Austin, 48, of Arundel Close, Southwater, and James Lambert, 34, of The Pines, Horsham, have raised thousands of pounds for the Elkington family and even offered them a Florida holiday home to stay in.
Four-year-old Noah was diagnosed with aggressive muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy one week after his first birthday.
His mother Vicky, 35, said the family of five from Crawley was devastated by the news.
Noah and Vicky, along with husband John, 33, and daughters Keria, 14, and Summer, seven, have always dreamt about visiting Orlando Disney - but finances got in the way.
The price of Noah’s insurance alone was just as costly as the holiday, said Vicky.
However, in April 2012 close friend James, a happiness coach from Horsham, set himself the gruelling challenge of running 101 marathons to make their dream a reality.
After months pounding pavements he has bagged more than 2,200 miles and raised around £3,500 for the family. James has 17 marathons left and wants to have these completed before the year is out.
“Because they’re such lovely people I wanted to do what I could,” said James, who admitted: “I feel like my body’s broken down a bit, and I think I’ll give running a rest after this.”
As Noah’s story picked up momentum a Southwater mother approached the family with an extraordinary gesture.
Sally, who had read about Noah in the County Times’ sister paper - the Crawley Observer - offered the family her Florida holiday home.
As if that wasn’t enough, the business woman organised a Disney-themed fundraiser at Cottesmore Golf Club in October last year which racked up more than £3,500.
“I’m a mother and things like this are very close to my heart,” said Sally. “What is money really, compared to making a little boy’s dream come true and making him happy?”
Concerned the ball would not be the success it was, she approached young person’s charity Make A Wish Foundation - which has since decided to grant Noah’s wish and has offered to take care of the entire holiday.
Now, just weeks away from Christmas, the Elkingtons household is filled with excitement as they prepare to travel across the pond to meet Mickey Mouse. Vicky said this will ‘break the cycle of horribleness’.