KINDHEARTED supermarket staff are helping a South Tyneside mum get one step closer to taking her disabled daughter to a medical conference in America.
Instead of sending Christmas cards, Vanessa Brennan asked her colleagues at Asda South Shields to make a £170 donation to little Neve Rees-Burton
The nine-year-old’s mum Joanne Rees is on a mission to take her daughter, who has a rare genetic condition called Joubert Syndrome, to a medical conference in Chicago to find out what her future has in store.
The latest donation takes the fundraising total up to £3,500 – with another £2,500 needed to cover the cost of flights, transport, health insurance and hotels.
Joanne, 37, from Marsden, South Shields, said: “We are very grateful that Vanessa came up with the idea and that her colleagues decided to donate the cash to Neve.”
The syndrome has left Neve with a range of medical conditions including being unable to speak, breathing issues as well as vision and balance problems.
And on Christmas Eve Mrs Rees received a letter saying that recent hospital sight tests have shown that her daughter is now blind.
In July, the Joubert Syndrome and Related Disorders Foundation will be hosting the medical conference which will see experts from around the world gathering together.
It will also give Neve the chance to meet other families who have the same syndrome.
The community has rallied together to help Mrs Rees, who is married to Paul and also has daughter Isla, one, with her mission to get to America.
Friends and family took part in the Boxing Day Dip and generated in the region of £2,000.
While audience members who attended Wayne Miller’s Santa’s Naughty Elf play, at the Customs House, in Mill Dam, donated £1,800 by emptying their spare change into collection buckets, and staff at B&M Bargains, in South Shields, also handed over £163.
Another £300 was raised after a curry night at the Vigilant Pub, in Harton Village, South Shields, and £200 was made by a chocolate raffle at the Fountain Inn, in Highfield Road, South Shields.
Joanne added: “Every donation we receive means we’re that little bit closer to achieving the target that we need.”