‘It’s lovely to see a smile on his face’: Parents of Ipswich youngster George Woodward thank public for their support
Thank you for helping us to make George’s life easier.
This is the heartfelt message from the parents of a four-year-old Ipswich boy who was diagnosed with a rare and debilitating condition when he was just 21 months old.
Since that day, Laura Barber and Lee Woodward, who also have two-year-old daughter, Ivy, have fundraised tirelessly to buy the different items that their little boy needs to improve his quality of life.
And today the family “can’t believe it” as they are standing in their Lagonda Drive home which has been specially adapted to help George – who has the neuromuscular condition type 2 spinal muscular atrophy – be more independent. The renovation was made possible thanks to donations collected from the public and various organisations over the past two years.
Miss Barber, 31, said: “We want to say thank you very much and we really appreciate it, it’s lovely to be back home and see George with a smile on his face and we know life will be a lot easier for him.
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“We can’t believe what we have done, we have had to fight to get here and it’s taken two years from diagnosis but we have done it.”
Mr Woodward, 33, added: “It’s brilliant the amount of people who have helped us, we are settled for life now and it’s taken a lot of hard work but the house is fantastic, I don’t know how we used to live in it before.”
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The family’s home has been installed with a lift from the living room to George’s bedroom; a wet room and self-cleaning toilet; a wheelchair ramp at the back door; and an open plan living room so George can go wherever he needs to on his own.
Miss Barber said: “You have a picture in your mind of what it will be like and it was more than I could have ever imagined, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
“George couldn’t wait to come home, he was really excited for his new bedroom, bathroom and lift.
“He can now get into the garden on his own and get into the house on his own, now there’s nothing he can’t do on his own. Before he couldn’t even get over the doorstep, we were carrying him in the door and up the stairs, he was just confined to one room really.
“It’s massively helped all the family, day to day living is now 100% easier for everyone.”
The house adaptations were completed by Suffolk company AGA Mobility Systems Ltd.
Leading the project was managing director, Lee Thrower, who was so moved by the family’s story that he renovated their garden for free and made a donation towards the cost of George’s lift.
Mr Thrower said: “Laura and Lee are unbelievable with what they’ve done, all credit to them as a family.
“They are just completely and utterly selfless, not one bit of them thinks about themselves, which is nice to see. It was a big project, the house was completely gutted, but they were a pleasure to work with.
“The main thing is what they have done in fundraising, it’s incredible.”
Over the last two years the family has raised money to provide George with his first manual wheelchair, a specially adapted trike, and most recently an electric-powered wheelchair.
Miss Barber gave special thanks to Gina Long from the Sir Bobby Robson online auction; Copdock Motorcycle Show; Ipswich Foundation Street Charity; and AGA Mobility Systems Ltd – all of which made big donations.
The family is having a break from fundraising, but Miss Barber said they would need to return to it in the future as George grows up and needs bigger equipment.
To make a donation, visit: georgewoodwardfund.weebly.com