TODAY we call on our generous readers to make a dream come true for a little boy with an incurable disease.
Last week we told how eight-year-old Ryan Cottrell's life is a daily battle against excruciating Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) - a condition where internal linings and chunks of skin blister and rip away from the body.
The condition is deteriorating all the time and it will never improve.
Ryan, who has coped bravely with the pain, has the ambition of going to Lapland to see Santa in his homeland.
And we are launching an appeal to raise funds to send Ryan and his family on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
His mum Amanda, dad Shaun and sister Amy, four, of Carter Street, Accrington, have already got £1,000 from a fund-raising party.
And now we are bidding to raise another £5,000 to send the family on a magical five-day Christmas trip.
Editor Mervyn Kay said: "We know the story touched the hearts of many of our readers and I am sure they will rally round as they have done with other appeals in the past.
"Let's give Ryan a Christmas to remember.''
Amanda, 30, said: "We are very touched by the appeal and really appreciate people's interest and kindness.
"Ryan has had a very difficult life and has had to sacrifice many things because of his condition. So anything that improves his quality of life will mean so much to his dad and me.
"We've never had a holiday abroad as a family because we've never been able to afford it, and this would be brilliant. Ryan loves Christmas and getting to meet Santa, have a reindeer ride and soak up the atmosphere of Lapland would be really special. He's very excited about it."
WE need your help to raise enough money to send the family to a top-notch hotel for their five-day stay and to provide enough spending money to guarantee them a wonderful, carefree time. Here's how you can help:
- MAKE a direct donation. All sums, large or small, will help and will be gratefully received. Contributions can be handed in or posted (cheques only) to our offices at 103 Blackburn Road, and will be acknowledged in the paper. Please make cheques payable to the Ryan Cottrell Appeal.
- DEDICATE a fund-raising event to Ryan or organise a special one. Ring our News Desk on 871444 with details and we'll do our best to send a photographer.
Published 17 September 2004