Family bowled over by the kindness of online strangers

Max Smith, four months, who has plagiocephaly and brackycephaly, with mum Emma Smith, who is raising �2,000 to buy a him a helmet for the conditions.
Max Smith, four months, who has plagiocephaly and brackycephaly, with mum Emma Smith, who is raising �2,000 to buy a him a helmet for the conditions.
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A FAMILY have been left speechless after strangers from across the world donated to their fund-raising appeal.

The Smith family, from Chapel Lane, Salterhebble, Halifax, need to raise £2,000 to buy their youngest son Max a specially adapted helmet.

Max, who is four months old, suffers from plagiocephaly and brackycephaly – commonly known as “flat head syndrome”.

Max, who was born four weeks early, had problems with reflux, and his parents, Emma, 29, and Simon, 34, were told to lay him with his head to the side. It has led to weakened neck muscles in his left-hand side and he usually lies with his head to the right so the condition has not been able to correct itself as it would normally.

They found GPs and health visitors were unaware of the severity of Max’s condition and Emma wants to raise awareness of the condition.

The family were told they would have to foot the bill for the helmet because it is classed as a cosmetic procedure – although some research has shown there the condition could affect on hearing.

They were told if they waited, Max could have his ear pinned back – another cosmetic procedure – on the NHS.

Max was referred to a private clinic in Leeds where they were told the specially-designed helmet will cost £2,000.

Last Thursday his parents launched a fund-raising campaign and already they have raised £1,300 – most of which has been donated by 120 strangers from across the world.

Emma and Simon put their plea on message boards for their respective hobbies and internet forums and were overwhelmed with the response.

“It’s unbelievable. Times are supposed to be hard and people can still something to a little boy they have never met,” said Simon.

Emma, a nurse, pointed out the problem when Max was four weeks-old to her health visitor who referred her to her GP.

“It just seemed to come overnight. I just thought it didn’t look right, I was washing his hair in the bath and there seemed to be a ledge.

“I thought it was me being a neurotic mum,” she said.

She was shocked at the lack of awareness of the condition - especially when the GP used Google to check the condition.

When the severity of Max’s condition was realised, Emma was told the helmet could not be bought by the NHS.

As well as raising the remaining £900 Emma wants to raise awareness of the condition so more GPs are aware of it and parents take action while treatment is still available.

The treatment has to take place early in each child’s life but for Max it could be finished by Christmas.

To donate to their appeal visit www.justgiving.com/babymaxsmith