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Celebration evening to mark milestone for little George Woodward from Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 January 2016

George Woodward is pictured with his new wheelchair at his home in Ipswich withLee Laura and sister Ivy.

George Woodward is pictured with his new wheelchair at his home in Ipswich withLee Laura and sister Ivy.

Archant

The mother of a young boy from Ipswich who suffers from a rare and debilitating condition has thanked the community for their support as she reaches the end of an emotional fundraising journey.

George Woodward is pictured with his new wheelchair at his home in Ipswich.George Woodward is pictured with his new wheelchair at his home in Ipswich.

George Woodward was just 21 months old when he was diagnosed with type 2 spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic and life-limiting disease that causes muscle weakness, breathing difficulties and leads to severe disability.

Since that day George’s parents – Laura Barber and Lee Woodward – have held a series of events to fund different items and care for their son.

“When we were first told two years ago I thought the things George needed would be provided by the local resources and they haven’t been,” said Miss Barber, aged 31.

“We have only been able to do it because of the great people out there who have helped us along the way.

“It’s been overwhelming, with offers of help, donations and support. I can’t believe there are such good people out there.”

Donations provided George, who has a one-year-old sister called Ivy, with his first manual wheelchair a year and half ago, as well a specially adapted trike and hoists to help him around the house.

The family-of-four are currently living with Miss Barber’s mother while their home in Lagonda Drive is undergoing changes by AGA Mobility Systems Ltd that will help make life easier for George, including a lift, a height adjusted bath and self-cleaning toilet.

And in December last year, George, who is now aged three, was chosen as a beneficiary of the Sir Bobby Robson Online Auction, organised by Suffolk fundraiser, Gina Long.

The auction raised enough money to buy George a power wheelchair, which allows him to get around independently, ready for when he starts primary school in September.

“He loves it so much, he’s never been able to leave my side really and now he’s got this chair he goes way ahead,” Miss Barber said.

“We have been around the park and on lovely long walks and he’s having a great time.”

The family are now taking a step back from fundraising but Miss Barber said there will be things that George needs in the future as he outgrows the equipment.

To say thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign, the family are holding a celebration evening on February 6 at Trinity Park in Ipswich, with a performance from Ashton Jones and Innerheart Band.

“I didn’t think I would ever be here saying that we’ve done it,” said Miss Barber.

“Now he’s got his wheelchair and adaptations are going on around the house we thought it was time to have a break and to say thank you to everyone who has helped us.”

George’s condition is progressive which means he will get weaker in the future.

However, Miss Barber said doctors had been pleased with George’s progress during check-ups.

She added: “He can still roll over, he can’t stand anymore but he can still sit up unaided and roll over and lift his arms above his head. With time it will be harder for him to lift his arms above his head.

“He’s very upbeat and he’s got a lovely personality. He is very confident but I think he has to be confident to make himself heard.”

Tickets for George’s Cocktails and Celebration Party are £20 and can be purchased at: georgewoodwardfund.weebly.com/

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