A Middleton family has launched a fundraising campaign to give their autistic Leeds son a safe bed to sleep in.
Eight-year-old Linus Harrison, from Middleton, has severe autism, which means he has the mental age of a two year old, still has to wear nappies and is unable to communicate or respond to his own name.
His family say Linus, who attends the special unit at Richmond Hill Primary School, needs round the clock attention. It’s hoped the safe bed will give him a safe and pleasant environment to be in.
Mum Melissa, 32, says the family is trying to raise at least £8,000 for a safe bed for Linus – and has been touched by support from the local community which has seen more than £3,000 raised in a matter of months.
Melissa, who lives with husband Steven, said: “Linus has no communication skills, it’s like looking after a baby. He’s still in nappies and doesn’t respond to his own name. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how to respond.
“He doesn’t have any sense of danger, so he’s happy to throw himself down the stairs . He doesn’t seem to have any sense of pain, so unless you can see he’s hurt he isn’t able to tell us and isn’t able to help himself, which is a worry. We really need to bed to help keep him safe and the government won’t always fund equipment he needs.”
The family only started their appeal in late August, but have already passed the £3,000 mark thanks to a series of fundraising events. These include a fundraising evening at the Plantation Pub in Middleton, bucket shakes at the Cross Keys Pub in Holbeck and outside Beeston Co-op, car boot sales and auctioning a signed Leeds United football.
Grandma Shirley Brummitt, 52, recently raised £200 by having her first tattoo drawn.
Melissa added: “I can’t believe the response, it’s been amazing. People have given money and so many raffle prizes. It would be great if we could raise enough money to get him a comfy and safe bed for Christmas.”
Middleton-based community development charity Health For All has added its support to the family.
Chief Executive Pat McGeever said: “We at Health for All are really pleased to be supporting such an important cause. Linus, as with every child, deserves the best, and his mum Melissa is a valued member of the Rags to Riches Group which runs here at Tenants Hall.
“It would be marvellous if the target was reached by Christmas, so all of our staff and trustees will be working hard to raise money for it.”
A safe bed would provide a space in which someone can sleep, move, roll or play freely, reducing the risk of injury by eliminating hard surfaces.
If you can donate to help Linus, search for the family’s Facebook page – Fundraising for Linus Harrison.