Kind-hearted shoppers stump up for battling tot

BAG-PACK BOOST ...  Sarah Howe Cookson and Chris Cookson with baby Charlie.
BAG-PACK BOOST ... Sarah Howe Cookson and Chris Cookson with baby Charlie.

KIND-HEARTED shoppers have donated £2,534 in spare change to help a poorly South Tyneside baby.

More than 55 friends, family members and acquaintances, who have been touched by Charlie Cookson’s health battle, took part in a bag-packing event at Asda South Shields.

They collected cash in buckets showing the face of the 22-month-old, who was born with a number of medical conditions including brittle bone disease, epilepsy and a blood disorder, which means he can’t create a defence against infection.

His mum, Sarah Cookson, 37, from Simonside, South Shields, is overwhelmed by the amount raised.

She said: “I honestly can’t believe it. We were told that usually people collect about £1,000 over a weekend, but we topped that on each of the days. It’s amazing.

“Some of the bag packers we’d never even met. They just came out of the goodness of their hearts and gave up their free time for our Charlie, which is incredible.

“And the generosity of the Asda shoppers was outstanding. People were putting in £5, £10 and £20 notes. It’s staggering, we can’t thank people enough.”

Sarah and husband Chris have had an anxious fortnight after Charlie, who is in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, had brain samples taken for a biopsy to help diagnose his condition.

On Tuesday, they were told that doctors had ruled out two of the disorders which they thought he may have had.

Sarah said: “We still have to wait another four to six weeks for some of the other tests to come back.

“He will probably have to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in the next few months, to make sure.

“But we’re not giving up yet. We’re going to continue to try and find out what causes Charlie his problems, so we’re still hoping for an answer.”

The family home is being modified to make room for Charlie’s specialist equipment, and the dining area is being made into a sensory area for him.

The cash raised will be used to buy a special Jacuzzi-style bath, with lights and bubbles, and help fund medical journeys.

Sarah added: “We’re just trying to make the environment as fun as possible for Charlie. I’ve been looking back over his pictures and they’re nearly all of him in hospital.

“He hasn’t had much life at all, bless him. So things like the Jacuzzi will make even bathtimes seem exciting for him.”

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez