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Mum of terminally ill Ross-shire lad hits £60,000 care pod target after 'amazing' community response


By Hector MacKenzie


Reece Mitchell(6) from North Kessock who has Batten disease with mum Donna. She has lef a fundraising campaign for a care pod that will be located in her garden.Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..
Reece Mitchell(6) from North Kessock who has Batten disease with mum Donna. She has lef a fundraising campaign for a care pod that will be located in her garden.Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No..

A PUSH to provide a life-changing care pod for a terminally ill Ross-shire boy has hit its £60,000 target after the "incredible" response of people touched by his plight.

The family of Reece Mitchell (6) battled to provide specialist accommodation to care for him in what will effectively be a “mini-intensive care unit” temporarily housed in their back garden.

Mum Donna Brown, hailed by her local MSP as "an amazing force of kindness and energy", said: "It shows that when we all pull together, incredible things can and do happen."

Reece has CLN2 type Batten disease, a rare condition that causes blindness, early dementia and distressing seizures. He cannot bear weight or walk and is completely reliant on his mum to provide all his care needs, which involves being carried up and down stairs.

At present, there is no treatment or cure for Batten disease.

The family home on the Black Isle does not have a large enough downstairs room for a hospital bed and all of the equipment he will soon need. Surrounded by family and a strong support network, Ms Brown was reluctant to move from the North Kessock home where she has lived for 20 years.

It meant a pod in the back garden was the only viable option for the family to remain at their home for Reece's final years.

How we previously reported the story.
How we previously reported the story.

Preparation for the pod– specially built by Invergordon-based Carbon Dynamic – is under way and it should be installed by the end of this month.

Once Reece no longer requires the pod, it will be passed on to another family who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Those supporting the family’s campaign included the Batten Disease Family Association (BDFA), the family’s GP and constituency MSP Kate Forbes.

Ms Brown said: “As a family this has been a long process and nearly a year. We cannot thank everyone enough for all the support and help. So many worked tirelessly behind the scenes, Connecting Carers, BDFA and Kate Forbes MSP’s office to help make this happen and I couldn’t have done it without them.

“We only went live with the fundraising in October and to have reached our target is just incredible and testament to people’s kindness and willingness to help.We had massive support from the people of the Highlands and all over the country which is just astounding.”

She added: “Now we can concentrate on giving Reece the quality of life he deserves, no more carrying him up and down the stairs and in and out the bath as I always feel that I’m manhandling him.

“It’s getting so very difficult but with the pod in situ Reece will have the space to be cared for with the dignity and respect that he deserves. We now enjoy and try and make the best of the time we have. And as Reece’s disease progresses we don’t have the worry as to what’s going to happen as I will be able to care for him at home where he belongs.

“This pod will be life-changing for us and from us all a heartfelt thank you for making this possible.”

Kate Forbes MSP said Donna Brown was 'an amazing force and kindness and energy'.
Kate Forbes MSP said Donna Brown was 'an amazing force and kindness and energy'.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “This is incredibly good news for a well-deserving little boy. People have been tremendously generous, and been moved by Reece’s story.

“His mum Donna is an amazing force of kindness and energy. She has mobilised hundreds of people to hold coffee mornings, do a sponsored swim and donate generously.

“This result is testament to her care for her son and the public’s generosity of spirit. I couldn’t be happier for them all.”

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