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Addiscombe parents launch fundraising drive to buy 18-month-old son a wheelchair


GEORGE Tappenden cannot stand, sit up unaided or play properly with his little sister – in other words, he cannot live the life of a typical, happy toddler.

In November, 18-month-old George was diagnosed with a life-limiting disease, since when he has lost the use of his legs.

Now, having previously told George's story, we want to help – and want your help – to raise money which could potentially change the life of this brave little boy.

When George was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), his parents were told that he may not live to see his eighth birthday, and supporting his own head could become impossible.

Now his mother, Lucy Frost, 33, and father, Anthony Tappenden, have launched a huge fundraising drive, to buy crucial equipment which will help to improve George's life.

First of all, they want to buy George a Snap Dragon wheelchair, which will help him sit up, stand and give this gorgeous little boy more freedom.

The problem? It costs £21,000.

The family have already raised around a third of this figure but we're appealing to Advertiser readers, local business and anyone else willing to help to donate some money – however small – to improve George's quality of life.

Lucy, of Wydehurst Road, Addiscombe, said: "We want to give him as normal a life as possible. The chair costs £21,000 but will enable him to sit up and reach for his favourite book.

"It will also help him stand and give him more freedom to play with his sister Evie. Right now he can't even crawl.

"Everyone around him is heartbroken that he will face a lifetime of challenges but little George knows no different, when he tells his big sister off for overstepping the mark, cuddles mummy and daddy like a teddy bear and giggles just like any other child.

"This chair will even support him to stand, which is incredible.

"While George's physical abilities are limited, his mind will give him the strength and determination that he will need to achieve wonderful things in his life.

"Every penny counts so please help us if you can."

George, who is the nephew of former page 3 girl Nicola T, now has his own Twitter account, raising awareness of his condition, and currently has more than 700 followers, including One Direction singer Zayn Malik.

A host of celebrities, including stars from The Only Way is Essex and EastEnders, will play in a fundraising football match for George this weekend.

Bit it's not just celebrities getting involved. Lucy, who recently moved to Addiscombe from Shirley, has been bowled over by the support of the local community.

She added: "So many people have been very generous and run marathons, held quiz nights and raffles and spread the word about George, but we still have a long way to go.

"The Kids Play Café in Addiscombe have been so helpful from the beginning with fundraising so we're so thankful to them."

SMA is a muscle wasting disease which leaves children unable to bear their own body weight. The wheelchair costs £21,000 – and the family are so far only a third of their way towards achieving the target. We'd love Advertiser readers to make a donation, however small, to help this brave little boy enjoy a better quality of life. In effect, your £1, £5, whatever it is, could help George to stand up and sit down – what may seem like very normal things for an 18-month-old child. If you would like to donate, the easiest option is to visit his JustGiving page, or www.georgesrainbowfund.com You can also follow George's progress on Twitter @GeorgeTRainFund If you or your business would like to donate in a more substantial way, or perhaps arrange a fundraising event for George, please call reporter Sarah Hayes on 01737 783823 or e-mail sarah.hayes@croydonadvertiser.co.uk

The charity football match takes place on Sunday, kick off 3pm, at Ebbsfleet United Football Club, in Gravesend, Kent.

Addiscombe parents launch fundraising drive to buy 18-month-old son a wheelchair

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