A youngster who is battling a genetic disorder has been given a new lease of life with the help of a medical aid after a fundraising effort sparked by a South Tyneside businessman.
Little Joseph Lovely, aged two, was born with Cystic Fibrosis and, until now, relied heavily on his parents Rachel and Joe to carry out the physiotherapy he needs to help clear his chest and help him breathe.
Thanks to fundraising efforts and a generous donation from a South Tyneside family, they are now in possession of the specially-designed £7,000 vibrating vest.
Within days of the youngster wearing it, his parents say they have seen a marked improvement in his breathing and his overall condition.
Joseph, from Cromwell Street, Sunderland, relies on medication, nebulisers and inhalers in order to help him control his condition, and is being looked after by specialists at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
His plight, was highlighted after his grandfather Joe, from South Shields, approached businessman Stan Yannetta, who offered to donate takings from his Halloween event to help the family reach the £7,000 needed.
“We really can’t thank the people who have helped us enough”Rachel Lovely
The move which was reported in the Gazette was picked up by the family of Elliott Lamb who - 16 years before - had been supported by the newspaper in his fundraising efforts, as his family tried to raise the cash needed to take him to Australia for pioneering surgery on a brain tumour which caused him repeated epileptic fits.
Not all the money was needed for Elliott, and what was left over was used to help other youngsters.
It was the last of the money which was handed over to Joseph’s family to buy his vest, which he will keep until he is 18.
His mam Rachel said: “It’s fantastic. Joseph couldn’t be fitted for his vest until he was two, but we started to fundraise just before his first birthday because we never thought we would raise the money so quickly.
“We really can’t thank the people who have helped us enough; Joseph’s bar in Sunderland, Paul from the Salsa group, Stan Yanetta and Jackie and Elliott Lamb - without the money from them we might still be fundraising.
“Joseph has only had it on a few times and already it has made such a difference to his breathing - it’s brilliant.”
Dad Joe said: “He wears the vest for 10 minutes, twice a day, which will increase to 20 minutes. It’s just amazing.
“His physio was getting harder to do with him getting older, as we were having to pin him to the floor to do it, and it can be quite distressing. Having the vest has really made all the difference.”