Plymouth people help raise the £4,500 needed to buy a seven-year-old boy with an incurable condition a special machine
A MUM whose son is battling an incurable muscle-wasting disease has said a big thank you to the people of Plymouth who have helped raise enough money to get him a special machine.
Seven-year-old Zack Hayden, a pupil at Leigham Primary School, has the devastating disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and is likely to be wheelchair-bound within the next two years.
But following a heartfelt plea from his mum Maria Whatley, at the beginning of February, the city has helped her raise the £4,500 needed to buy a special machine which could improve Zack's quality of life, keep him out of a wheelchair for as long as possible and also potentially increase his life expectancy.
Maria said: "The support we have had has just been amazing. Sometimes I could just cry because it is so overwhelming. It's so nice to know that there are people thinking of us. I never thought we would raise the money so quickly. I can't thank the people who have helped enough.
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"Hopefully this machine will be life-changing for Zack, and for us as a family. A cure to this awful disease would be amazing, but that's unlikely, so as long as we are doing all we can for Zack and giving him everything we can to help improve his life and keep it as normal for him for as long as possible, that is all we can ask for."
Maria is waiting for two more donations to come through into Zack's charity account before she can order The Vecttor, a machine not currently available in the UK, which provides electromagnetic stimulation that can help reverse muscle loss, create gains in muscle function and gains in muscle strength.
Zack recently received a donation from his teachers and classmates at Leigham Primary School who raised £230 from their latest mufti day.
Jane Bellamy, headteacher, said: "Zack is a delightful boy. He doesn't make a fuss, is very resilient and very kind to all the other children. It is so nice to give him this money to show him that we understand and empathise with him."
Maria, who hopes to order The Vecttor from America in the next few weeks, said she was really grateful for the school's support.
About 100 boys are born with the incurable condition in the UK each year.
The majority need a wheelchair by the age of eight to 11 due to progressive muscle weakness. They gradually lose their ability to walk, breathe, eat and speak, and often die before they reach 30.
Any excess money that is left over after the purchase of The Vecttor machine will go towards anything Zack needs in the future, Maria said.