A campaign to raise funds for a unique Leeds tot, born with 12 fingers and 12 toes, has exceeded its fundraising target – weeks before his first birthday.
Jacob Duffy, from Middleton, was born with multiple health problems including an eye condition called coloboma, which causes gaps in the structure of the eye, and a hole in the heart last November.
Determined to help fun-loving Jacob, who has a complex undiagnosed syndrome and is almost blind, his family launched a fundraising drive to create a special £15,000 sensory room to aid his development.
With a week to go until he turns one, the Looking Through Jacob’s Eyes campaign has raised almost £18,000.
Mum Rachael Hendry, 25, said: “This whole campaign has been to stimulate him. His vision is coming on like I can’t believe – he can see some things.
“There has been a lot of teamwork at what is a vital time in his development.”
She said four months of organising fundraising events, manning stalls, hosting collections and gaining the support of kind-hearted supporters has helped them to reach the target. This week a six-year-old boy who had never met Jacob donated £1,100 to the youngster.
Having exceeded their total, the family has given £1,000 to Leeds Mencap, which offers them regular support, while the rest is being invested into a sensory room featuring fibre optic lights, bubble tubes, soft flooring and sensory toys.
Rachael added that Jacob is a “happy and content little boy” and that she hopes he will soon have his extra digits removed to help him to learn to stand.
Jacob’s unusual story spread across the globe earlier this year, with the fundraising campaign welcoming donations from as far afield as Brazil.
Visit facebook.com/JacobsColoboma for information.