Team GB golden girl Jessica Ennis came to Leeds to champion a couple’s fight to raise awareness of their little boy’s rare genetic condition.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist was at Waterstones book shop in Albion Street yesterday afternoon, meeting hundreds of fans and signing copies of her new book Unbelievable.
While she was there she met Paul and Emma Kendrick, from Morley.
They have launched a campaign to make more people aware of Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), a condition which disrupts the function of the brain.
The couple’s three-year-old son Joseph suffers from the extremely rare condition - which just 500 children in the world are known to have- and they hope to help fund research that may one day find a cure.
Paul, 36, said: “We started Joseph’s Goal in October and we just want to raise funds and awareness. Not many people have heard of NKH because it’s so rare and we want to let people know what it is and that it’s such a terrible condition.
“At the moment there’s only one doctor in Colorado that’s doing research and any money we can raise will go straight to this man who knows what to do with it.”
When Joseph was born, doctors feared he might struggle to live beyond six months.
But three years later, Joseph’s Goal has received the backing of players from the Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Athletic Football Club and top comedian and Mock The Week star Alun Cochrane.
And yesterday Jessica took the time out to meet the family and wear a Joseph’s Goal wristband ahead of her book signing.
Emma, also 36, who also brought along Joseph’s brother Sam, 18-months, said: “It’s amazing when we get to meet these people and they give us their support.
“We watched Jessica over the summer and thought she was fantastic so to have her backing means a lot.”
At yesterday’s event, Jessica was also presented with a picture of her Heptathlon heroics, created by Skipton man Mark Roden, 52.
Mark suffered a heart attack four weeks ago and put the picture together as part of his recovery.
Follow @josephsgoal on twitter, or visit: www.josephsgoal.org