THE parents of little Ryan Cottrell have booked their dream holiday to Lapland so that their son can meet Santa in time for Christmas.
The trip was cast into doubt last week when his mum Amanda and dad Shaun were told he would need an iron transfusion and would have to go into Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, for five days from 12 December.
But this week the couple revealed they had decided to fulfil his dearest wish by buying tickets for the trip out of the appeal fund supported by generous Observer readers.
Now they are shopping for thermal clothes for the four-day holiday which will be their first trip abroad as a family.
Amanda, 30, of Carter Street, Accrington, said: "Ryan really wants to go to see Santa and he is very excited that it's all arranged. We are delighted by how successful the appeal has been and we are really surprised by how much money has been raised.
"Ryan has had a lot of attention recently but he has calmed down a bit now and is starting to get used to it all. He is trying not to think too much about going to London and is just looking forward to his holiday."
The family's £4,400 holiday will take them to a hotel near Rovaniemi, in northern Lapland, which offers a range of activities including the chance to visit a reindeer farm.
The total raised by our appeal is now £12,873, well over double our original target.
This week's donations were £276 from the North Lancashire Training Group, which organised a Halloween party at Si cafe and bar in Blackburn Road, Accrington, and £150 from Accrington Stanley players.
Stanley captain Peter Cavanagh said: "We are a caring family club and when we read about Ryan's plight we decided to have a collection. We just wanted to do our bit to help a good cause and hopefully Ryan will be able to go to Lapland and enjoy it."
The last events to raise money for Ryan will be a charity car-wash at Baxenden Autowash on 20 November and a family night at Brooks Club, Accrington, on 1 December.