A couple inspired by their young son to set up a charity have received a welcome start to 2014.
Lynsey and Rick Bolton, from Chorley, launched Izzy’s Busy in January last year to raise awareness and understanding of disabilities, as their three-year-old son Isaac has cerebral palsy.
They have visited schools and universities to give talks and held fundraising events, recently reaching their £5,000 target to allow them to register as a charity.
And more money could soon be coming in as Izzy’s Busy has been chosen as the charity of the year for 2014 by rugby league team Widnes Vikings.
Isaac is a big fan of the team and family friend, Ben Cross, played for them until last season.
Rick, 38, said: “We are really pleased to be in partnership with the Widnes Vikings.
“Hopefully, with the help of the Vikings, we can educate more people to see the child and not the disability, which is one of our key principles as a charity.”
James Rule, Vikings’ chief executive, said: “I have been hugely impressed with the hard work and dedication of everybody connected with this charity, and all their efforts behind the scenes. As a community-focused club, we are proud to play our part in raising their profile and hopefully generating funds for Izzy’s Busy to be able to continue with their great work.”
Lynsey and Rick set up Izzy’s Busy after Isaac was born prematurely and diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which affects virtually all of his muscles.
He was in neo-natal intensive care for more than 100 days and had his first of several operations when he was just eight weeks old.
The couple, who also have two other sons, were inspired by Isaac’s strength and want to help him and other people by improving perceptions of disabilities.
Rick said: “Yes, he is disabled medically, but he’s also extremely strong. He has come through such incredible battles over the last three years.
“You can’t fail to be inspired by him.
“He’s not unique though. I know dozens of other children with complex disabilities who have equally inspiring stories.”
The future looks bright for the Izzy’s Busy, as it approaches its first anniversary and Lynsey and Rick work towards it becoming a charity.
They have already gained more than 3,300 followers on social network Twitter and are determined to raise awareness of disabilities.
Rick said: “We have been lucky to raise the £5,000 required in the last two or three weeks and are pushing forward with the registration process. That will open doors to bigger funding streams to support us.
“The demand for the work that we do is massive, from schools, universities and community interest groups.
“It’s a missing gap in adult education – for professionals, social work and pharmacies.
“Our plan for next year is to become a nationally-visible charity and take our services to a wider audience.”
To find out more, go to www.izzysbusy.org.uk or follow @Izzysbusy on Twitter.