‘Sunshine boy river inspires disabled help group’ – Rochdale Observer – Work Experience

This article of mine was published in the Rochdale Observer

THE parents of a young disabled boy whose condition is a mystery to doctors have set up their own charity support group.

Jeni and Chris Wardley, from Littleborough, hope that the group will be able to provide days out for families with disabled children, who often have to attend numerous hospital appointments and therapy sessions.

The couple care round-the-clock for four-year-old son River, who suffers from seizures and sleep apnea which can leave his oxygen levels dangerously low.

Jeni, 34, said

“We have thought about a charity group for a long time. But in the past week we have had a huge surge in support. I can’t believe it.”

The group, named The Sunshine Circle, attended the Manchester 10k and handed out nearly 5,000 leaflets which describe what kinds of events it wants to offer. ​A mascot visiting sick children in hospital with gifts and a sensory bus which would travel around the area are just some of the ideas put forward.

“People were lovely at the marathon, they were so interested.

“We think that River is our sunshine and I think all special needs children have a way of making people happy.”

But Jeni said that at times, the strain of caring for a disabled child ‘can be very isolating’

“We haven’t went for a meal in so long because people can judge you, and that is soul-destroying.

“You get so involved in it. I just want to see my child laughing and smiling.”

Despite their son still being classed as undiagnosed by doctors, which Jeni called ‘frustrating’, the family is happy that River is progressing in other ways, currently attending Springside School.

The family is also organising a number of fundraising events, including a car wash with a difference – dad’s in tutu’s cleaning the cars!

“Everything that we do will help us create some fantastic memories in the future.”

If you would like to get involved, go to the groups Facebook page: facebook.com/groups/sunshinecircle

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