23 Sep Firefighters in race to help rescue Aaron
FAMILY days out used to prove quite a handful for Aaron Armstrong’s parents.
The four-year-old has a rare condition which means he has trouble getting around so his parents, Elaine and Alan, would need to carry extra equipment.
But now the youngster is the owner of a specialist trike which is making life easier for all three.
Aaron, who has what’s known as a chromosome 8p deletion, causing development delay including growth, heart and facial defects, loves being out and about on his new bike.
He’s enjoying more freedom by going to local play areas and joining his young pals at nursery during outdoor break times.
The money for the trike was raised through sponsors of The Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund, which finances equipment for disabled children in the North East.
And it was Durham Fire Station and Newcastle-based property development company Adderstone Group that came to the aid of Aaron.
Paul Bulmer, from the Sunshine Fund, said that now Aaron can go out with just the trike instead of needing multiple pieces of equipment it means only one parent, instead of both, need accompany him.
The gift has also helped him develop his physical strength.
“He absolutely loves it,” said Elaine, who was keen to thank the company and the firefighters for their support.
Durham Fire Station’s Blue Watch donated £500 towards the trike by coming up with the idea of building a model fire station and raising £5 sponsorship through each brick.
Mick Burdon, from the team, said he first read about Aaron online.
After his own son James donated unopened Lego as a prize for a fundraising raffle being held by the charity, Mick said: “It set me thinking how could we fundraise on my watch for Aaron, for something that would be personal to him.
“So I bought some Duplo with the help of my Blue Watch team.”
He learned from the charity that Aaron would benefit from a bike and said: “So I posted a bulletin on the work intranet asking £5 for each brick in the 100-piece Duplo fire station – then I kept shaking people with reminders until we reached £500!”
He said that as the youngster gets older and has other needs “I’m going have to run or exert myself to raise funds”.
Paul Bulmer called the fund-raiser “a brilliant idea” and thanked everybody at the station who helped build the mini version.
He also praised the “fabulous achievement” of Adderstone Group, which played an equally big part in helping Aaron through activities which raised £530 during the charity’s summer Go Bananas appeal. Paul organised a visit to the company for Aaron and his parents so that employees there could see first-hand what their help meant to him.
He said: “It was a great experience for both Adderstone and the Armstrong family.
“It makes a big difference for the staff to meet Aaron and know that their efforts have been so rewarding.”
Nicola Hughes, the company’s marketing director, said they had been delighted to support the campaign and that staff had enjoyed the fundraising activities, which included a Wear Yellow day, in the Sunshine Fund’s colours, a bake-off and a sponsored treasure trail.
“It has been a pleasure to meet Aaron and his mum Elaine,” she said.
“Aaron is very charming and confident and our staff simply fell in love with him. We’re delighted that the fundraising means he now has his trike and will be able to enjoy cycle rides with his parents.”
She added: “One of the nicest elements of the Sunshine Fund fundraising is that you know how the money raised will benefit the children so you feel you’re making a tangible difference, plus you get to meet them along the way. It’s been a great cause to support.”