The moving story of little Eva Kelly, who suffers from Brittle Bone Disease, has prompted a Portadown-born man to offer his fundraising services.
John Foy, who emigrated to Alberta, Canada, in the late 1970s read the story about the two-year-old online on the Portadown Times and decided to do something to help.
Eva has one of the most severe forms of the disease, and in her first year of life broke 50 bones.
Her mother Silean will be going to Westminster in June to lobby for more specialist services for her daughter and children like her.
John founded the Kids Forever charity in 1998 and since then it has raised more than $6 million and helped over 200 families in his home city, all of whom have children with serious medical conditions requiring expensive treatment.
However, on reading Eva’s story he decided he wanted to help a family from back home and is hoping to raise $10,000 by June 30.
He said, “We have opened a bank account in her name that people, family and friends can make donations to. We come from a community with large and generous hearts! We are raising funds for Eva’s family, to help cover any costs they may endure due to her illness.”
Eva cannot crawl or sit unaided and will probably have to use a wheelchair. Despite that, her parents are optimistic about the future for their bright, resilient daughter.
John, who was presented with the Alberta Centennial Medal for Service to the Community in 1995, explained his and wife Gail’s commitment to the charity by saying, “If you have made a difference - for good - to the life of a child, the world is a better place than it would have been otherwise.”
However, the Foys have decided that this will be the final year of the charity - it has simply become too big for them to manage - and have set a target of $1 million, calling this year ‘The Year of a Million Smiles’ and aiming to help over 25 families.
John is one of six children whose parents, Tommy and Rita, live at The Beeches, Portadown. His sister, Eileen (McClean), also lives in Canada.