Back Our Jack: Hundreds roll in to help severely disabled South Shields boy’s £20,000 plight

Jack Smith with his dad Mark.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Jack Smith with his dad Mark.'Picture by Jane Coltman

Donations have already started rolling in for the Gazette’s campaign to raise £20,000 to help a disabled little boy in South Tyneside.

The Back Our Jack appeal was launched yesterday to help Jack Smith’s family generate the cash they need to build a downstairs bathroom and bedroom at their home.

It’s humbling to think people are donating.

Debbie Patterson, Jack’s mum

The four-year-old from Whiteleas, South Shields, suffered brain damage at birth, which has left him with a number of medical issues.

Jack is blind and has hearing impairments.

Plus he’s also epileptic, has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or communicate with his parents Mark Smith and Debbie Patterson.

As he’s getting older it’s become more of a struggle for full-time carer Mark to carry his growing son around the house, so the downstairs adaptations are essential.

The family was awarded a £30,000 grant from South Tyneside Council – the maximum available through the Government’s Disabled Facilities Grant – but the build will cost in the region of £50,000, leaving them £20,000 short.

But within hours of our appeal being launched, kind-hearted readers had dug deep to help Jack out.

A pensioner called into our office in Beach Road South Shields, to hand over a £200 cheque, while another £510 was donated by 13 people on Jack’s online Go Fund Me page.

A number of other Gazette readers called in to say they’ll be handing over cash in the next few days.

Debbie, a mental health nurse for the NHS, says she’s humbled by the support the family has received so far.

She said: “It’s so humbling to think that people are donating like this, especially when times are financially hard for so many families.

“I think most would assume that these kind of adaptations would just be available for someone with disabilities like Jack, but they’re not and people are shocked when they realise.

“We can’t thank those who have donated enough, we’re so grateful for their help and generosity.”

To donate to the Gazette’s Back our Jack campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/Jacksmith or call 0191 501 7447.