THE overwhelmed family of a baby boy with flat-head syndrome are today paying for a life-changing helmet thanks to the generosity of the people of the Portsmouth area.
Over the past month the community has rallied to support a fundraising appeal for little Ernie Edwards.
The five-month-old Gosport tot was born with severe brachycephaly, which affects the back of his skull, and mild plagiocephaly which affects the side.
It means his skull is protruding forward, up and to the side – a condition which will get worse if it is not corrected in time.
Scores of kindhearted strangers have backed a fundraising appeal by Ernie’s mum, Sarah, to pay the final instalment of the £2,150 corrective helmet.
The latest fundraiser took place yesterday afternoon at Wymering Methodist Church Hall, Sixth Avenue, Wymering.
Dozens of people joined the day and passed on touching messages of support to the family.
Stunned Sarah, 28, said: ‘This has just been so overwhelming for us. It means so much. We can’t thank people enough. We’ve had total strangers donating.’
Sarah said the helmet was not offered by the NHS and that she was forced to buy it privately.
She added: ‘Because his condition is so severe, we’ve already paid a £600 deposit for the helmet; we’ll pay the rest off tomorrow.
‘This will really change his life. It will mean he will be able to get a job as a policeman or in construction because he will actually be able to wear a helmet.
‘We just want him to have a normal life and to not be bullied for how he looks.’
Yesterday’s fundraiser was supported by Cosham neighbourhood policing team, who gave children a tour of their van.
And members of the Portsmouth Reptile & Amphibian Society were also on hand, introducing visitors to dozens of their animals, including snakes, lizards, spiders and a tortoise.
Jayne Warren, secretary of the society, was delighted to support the event. She said: ‘It feels good to know that you can help somebody else in your community.’
Other activities included a bouncy castle, face-painting, games and a raffle.