A schoolboy is on his way to living his dream of one-day walking unaided and pain free - thanks to kindhearted South Tyneside residents.
The plight of nine-year-old Alfie Smith, who has cerebral palsy, was heard by hundreds of people within the borough.
The youngster, from Hartlepool, has been given the chance to undergo an operation in Leeds which will enable him to walk for the first time and become more independent.
However, for him to be put on the list, his family needed to raise a minimum of £50,000 to fund the surgery and at least two years aftercare - without taking into account any specialist equipment and a third year of aftercare.
With £17,000 left to go to hit the minimum amount needed, mother and daughter team Cheryl McDonald and Lynne Davis sparked a fundraising drive.
The pair who run Community Corner, which sells donated goods to raise cash for good causes, hosted bonus balls and co-ordinated donations from businesses.
A total of £13,000 was raised which was presented to Alfie, his mam Annie and brother Alex, at a surprise party held for the trio.
The cash will be used to fund his third year of aftercare after charity the Finlay Cooper Fund stepped in to plug the gap needed to enable Alfie’s family to put his name on the list for the operation.
During the party, it was also announced March 16 is the date set for the youngster to undergo surgery.
Cheryl, of Community Corner, said: “When we heard about Alfie and what he needed to raise we couldn’t not help.
“It’s something we felt in our hearts that we had to do and we wish him all the best.”
His mam Annie Stalley said: “Today is just really overwhelming for us all.
“It’s such a nice surprise from everyone to do this for Alfie and he’s delighted with it.”
Speaking about the news that Alfie is set to be operated on within a number of weeks, Annie added: “It’s a massive relief that it’s all booked in and we can look forward to it.
“The fund-raising has been brilliant but this is where the journey really starts.
“Now we’re counting down the days.”
Some of the businesses and groups who have stepped in to help include Benny Pomodoro’s, Village Photography, Coun Lee Hughes, Little Play Cafe and Team KT.