Family’s thank you to Harrogate Advertiser readers

Tom Dye and Harvey. (140916104AM)
Tom Dye and Harvey. (140916104AM)

The family of a Killinghall eleven-year-old with a devastating muscle disease have thanked the Harrogate Advertiser reader who is helping bring his £12,000 dream come true - to give his dog Harvey ‘a proper walk in a field’.

Tom Dye’s family appealed for help in the pages of the Harrogate Advertiser and our sister paper, the Yorkshire Post, earlier this month.

They were hoping to raise £12,000 to buy Tom, who lives with Duchenne muscular dystroph, a revolutionary all-terrain wheelchair, to allow him to take golden retriever - and dog for the disabled - Harvey for a “proper walk”.

After reading about Tom in their ‘Advertiser, one reader made a large donation, and combined with a series of generous donations via the JustGiving website, the money now allows the family to buy the chair and substantially improve Tom’s quality of life.

Tom’s mum Ceri told the Harrogate Advertiser: “I can’t believe it - it is just amazing news.

“I want to thank every reader for their input.We are just flabbergasted by the support.

“We have never asked for help before, but it is just fantastic.”

One large donation from a Yorkshire woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, pushed the total over the finish line.

“It’s not just the money that means so much, it’s the lovely messages people have left on the site after being touched by the story. I’ve cried quite a few times after reading them,” says Ceri.

DMD occurs in every 3,500-6,000 male births and is caused by a mutation in the gene that makes dystrophin, a protein that repairs and grows muscle. It first affects the pelvis then spreads, eventually targeting the heart and causing complications with everything from digestion to breathing. There is no cure.

Tom has ordered an orange and black BOMA and is set to take delivery of it next month.

The battery-driven Boma can climb up steps, drive through mud, over tree roots, across sand and snow – and even trek up mountains.

Its most amazing achievement so far is climbing Ben Nevis.

Tom said: “It’s brilliant. It can go anywhere and it goes much faster than the chair I have now. It also has indicators!

“The main reason I want one is to take Harvey for a walk in a field.”

Harvey is a dog for the disabled and he provides assistance for Tom.

He can take his socks off and picks up items he has dropped. He’s also a wonderful friend.

Ceri said: “Harvey is fantastic and one of the reasons Tom loves him is that he takes the attention away from him when we are out in the chair.

“People used to stare but now they come up and ask Tom about Harvey and that’s helped his confidence.”