FESTIVE fitness fanatics are signing up for a special bootcamp to raise cash for a sick toddler.
Lee Tiffin, who runs Black Sheep Fitness Academy, has organised a one-off Christmas event in aid of Charlie Cookson, who has a range of medical problems, including loss of vision, a brittle bone disease, a blood disorder and epilepsy.
The 31-year-old, from Midhurst Avenue, South Shields, came up with the idea after reading stories about the 19-month-old tot in the Gazette. He rang Charlie’s mum and dad, Sarah and Chris Cookson, and put the idea to them before meeting with the family.
The father-of-one, who is married to Eilish, already has more than 100 people signed up for the hour-long event on December 15, and all will be donating at least £5 to take part.
The cash will go towards kitting out a sensory room for Charlie.
Mr Tiffin is delighted to be able to help out.
He said: “I’ve got a little girl, Isobel, myself. She’s two, so about the same age as Charlie. When I read about what a tough time he has had I wanted to help out, so I got in touch with his mum.
“She brought Charlie around to my house, and seeing how ill the poor lad is really got to me and made me realise how lucky we have it.
“I wanted to help out, and the bootcamp is the best way I know how.”
The trainer will be in a Santa outfit, and wants others to get into the festive spirit as well. He added: “It will be a fun hour, but I’ll also be putting people through their paces.
“I’ve got more than 100 people signed up already, which is brilliant, but I hope we get a few more down on the day.
“Hopefully, those who are coming will get dressed up as well. And for people who can’t come, there is a link on my website to make a donation.”
Charlie, who weighed 5lbs 6.5oz when he was born, spent his first year in hospital and only came home the day before his first birthday.
He spent the first two months of his life in the special care baby unit as doctors tried to stabilise his weight and fight off an unknown infection.
Since then, he has overcome E-coli, meningitis and a bacterial infection called pseudomonas.
Last November, the Gazette reported how Charlie’s parents were told by doctors that he was almost ready to be discharged, but that they needed to kit out their home with essential equipment.
We appealed for readers to donate £1,000 to cover the initial costs, but the response, combined with a charity night and fundraising efforts by Charlie’s friends and family, smashed the target and raised more than £5,000.
Mrs Cookson, from Simonside, South Shields, is grateful for the efforts of all those taking part.
To sign up for the bootcamp, which will be held between 9.30am and 10.30am, search for Bootcamp for Charlie Cookson on Facebook or call Mr Tiffin on 07814 549531.
To make a donation, visit www.blacksheepfitnessacademy.com/charlie-cookson-donations.