The family of a youngster bravely battling a serious condition has launched a major campaign asking the public to help give him a better future.
Kieron and Louise Sales, from Atherleigh, launched crowd-funding drive Action 4 Alfie earlier this year to help their four-year-old son who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).
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The fund hopes to raise £10,000 which will be ready to pay for any specialist equipment Alfie may need later in life.
Kieron and Louise are also desperate to raise awareness and knowledge of the genetic condition which causes gradually deteriorating muscle weakness.
They have already achieved some remarkable results, raising almost £6,000 and getting a host of big names from the world of sport and TV to give their backing.
Kieron says the whole campaign was born out of the dark times after Alfie’s diagnosis and was inspired by the plucky youngster’s inspirational and positive approach to life.
Kieron, 42, said: “The diagnosis was devastating. It’s not news you want to receive about your child, it just rips your world apart.
“It has been a difficult few months and that’s why we set up Action 4 Alfie, to feel like we were doing something for him.
“Alfie is our beautiful and happy little boy. He’s a cheeky little chappy and his smile lights up the room.
“He doesn’t let things bother him. He just gets on and if he falls down, he quite simply gets back up again with that big smile on his face. That’s what we have to take from him.
“He’s a strong little character and so determined. We’re taking heart from that, that he will fight whatever is in front of him as he gets older.”
Alfie was diagnosed early this year after Kieron and Louise had faced a long battle to work out what was wrong with him.
They had noticed from about six months old he was not sitting up b y himself and then did not develop talking and walking skills at the age they expected.
They were referred to a paediatrician in January 2017 but the appointment didn’t happen so it was not until January 2018 that they got to see a medical expert, with blood tests confirming he had DMD.
Kieron described the daily effect the condition has on Alfie.
He said: “The condition mostly affects his legs at the moment. He can only walk short distances and he gets tired and can fall over.
“There are things Alfie struggles to do such as, keep up with his friends at nursery, climb, run, ride a bike or a scooter. He struggles using stairs.
“That’s one thing the crowd-funding can do, provide something like a specialist bike he can ride later on.”
Kieron also spoke of the public support for the crowd-funding, which was set up after they spoke to a former neighbour who had been involved in the Ben’s Wish campaign in Leigh.
He said: “We were just completely overwhelmed. The first few days were incredible with the amount of support we got. We were lost for words how kind people were.”
The Action 4 Alfie campaign has created its own equivalent of gestures like the Joining Jack salute - and some big names have pledged to raise awareness.
Supporters can help drive up knowledge of DMD by creating an A sign with the fingers of their hands.
Among those who have already been photographed making the symbol are Leigh Centurions rugby league players Peter Mata’utia and Bodene Thompson and Coronation Street actors including Dean Fagan.
Action 4 Alfie’s sign has also been made by Warrington Wolves’ stars Ryan Atkins and Harvey Livett, This Is England lead actor Thomas Turgoose and local star Matthew McNulty.
Kieron is particularly pleased with the support from the 13-man code as both he and his dad are season ticket holders at Leigh and Alfie will be a mascot later in the summer, following he and sister Mila-Rose’s first visit to the LSV this season.
Family and friends are also giving supporter, with Kieron’s sister-in-law and a friend doing a skydive for a Duchenne charity and a couple of friends signing up for the Colour Run in the borough.
For more information visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/action4alfie