THE parents of an Omagh toddler with an incredibly rare medical condition affecting his lower limbs are hopeful reconstruction specialists in Liverpool can give their son a fighting chance at being able to walk.
Seventeen-month-old James Rea, from Omagh, was born with a rare condition, Bilateral Tibial Hemimelia, which affects around one in a million births worldwide. The condition means his ankle bone is fused together, his feet are turned inwards in a fixated position, and he has no growth plates below his knee. The condition makes walking incredibly difficult.
James' loving parents, Vicki and Jason, were told that below the knee amputation was the only option for James, however they have since been given hope that specialists at Alderney Sick Children's Hospital in Liverpool will be able to save James' lower limbs with a series of operations through his childhood and in to his teens.
And James' story of hope has captured the heart of the local community. A GoFundMe page set on up on Sunday night to raise vital funds for James' journey to Liverpool and essential renovations to make the family home disabled-friendly during his lengthy treatment, has raised over £3,000.
Speaking to the Tyrone Constitution yesterday (Tuesday) mum Vicki said she is "completely overwhelmed" by the generosity that the family, which includes Katie (12) and Alex (seven), have received in such a short space of time.
"We are completely overwhelmed. For so many people to care and be so generous and helpful toward us is unbelievable. We simply can't get over the response. People are so thoughtful.
"What we are hoping to do with this go fund me page, is raise enough money for Jason and I to concentrate on James’s operation and making our house a home for him, to help with his recovery, without having a huge financial stress adding to our worries.