The Whittlesey community pull out all the stops for Baby James

James Overland of Whittlesey

James Overland of Whittlesey - Credit: Archant

A massive community fund raising effort has brought in £1,350 for a Whittlesey baby with a rare syndrome who needs special equipment to make life easier for his mum and dad.

James Overland of Whittlesey

James Overland of Whittlesey - Credit: Archant

At just six months old James Overland has spent hours switching between hospitals where he has been diagnosed and treated for Menkes syndrome which has no cure.

The disorder affects copper levels in the body and means babies fail to gain weight and grow at the expected rate.

Children typically do not live past the age of three although early treatment with copper can improve the prognosis.

Now, thanks to a mammoth community effort, which began on Facebook group Whittlesey and District Community Page, his parents Emma Minnett and Stuart Overland have been given the money to help buy a video monitor and other equipment they need.

James Overland of Whittlesey

James Overland of Whittlesey - Credit: Archant


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Whitltesey Lions also stepped in to donate money to buy a special car seat.

Colin Martin said: “James has to go to hospital on lots of occasions. He has been in Peterborough, Addenbrookes and Guys Hospital in London for treatment.

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“Thank you to people on the page for donations, auctions. Also some more good news after spending a few days in hospital James is now home again.”

Colin began a fund raising auction by encouraging local businesses to donate goods including a weekend hire of an Audi, the chance for a youngster to be a football mascot and artwork.

There was also a race night to tie in with the Grand National where Vesuvio restaurant bought five horses in the sweep stake and donated back £265.

Local man Mr Coleman also donated his winnings back.

Hairdresser Hannah Laud is doing a day’s hairdressing for free and another race night is being held on May 14.

Menkes syndrome is characterized by failure to gain weight and thrive and deterioration of the nervous system.

Additional signs and symptoms include weak muscle tone, sagging facial features, seizures, developmental delay, and intellectual disability.

Children with Menkes syndrome typically begin to develop symptoms during infancy. In rare cases symptoms begin later in childhood.

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