PARENTS at Meadow Bridge Primary School have launched a fundraising effort to raise money to send one of the young pupils on the holiday of a lifetime to Florida.
They want to allow eight-year-old Brian Kerr, who is the only person in Northern Ireland to suffer from the rare genetic blood disorder, Fanconi's Anaemia, to America to live out his dream.
But the cost will be much higher than normal because of the crippling insurance costs which will be at least £6,000 .
Brian, from Moira, was diagnosed with the condition -which can lead to bone marrow failure - as a baby. He has recently become transfusion dependent. As his bone marrow does not work properly making new blood he feels tired and can bleed heavily. The condition often leads to children suffering from birth defects and it can
lead to serious health problems such as leukaemia. Brian's twin sister Helen was diagnosed with another blood disorder HLH, and despite a bone marrow transplant at Bristols Children's Hospital from brother Adam -passed away on August 10, 2005 at the age of just three. Brian's mother Gaye has been told that some children with the condition can lead a normal life with a bone marrow transplant. However it can only be successful if they there is a related donor and that is not the case with Brian.
Brian's dream has always been to go to America. He said: "I want to go to Florida and ride the big roller coasters but it is going to take a lot of money for me to get there.
"I would like to go to Florida while I can enjoy it and am not too tired and I can't go when my bloods go down in case I haemorrhage on the rides."
After hearing about Brian's wish, parents at the school are sending out letters to local businesses and running a number of fundraising events.
They said Gaye has been a tireless fundraiser for others, including helping to raise money for the Fletcher family whose son Joshua suffers from Diamond Blackfan Anaemia.
Janet McKendry, said: "Gaye has always been there and has done so much for everyone else and this is a way of paying her back for all the hard work that she is always doing for others."
Another parent, Leigh-Ann Dillan, said: "We know that £6,000 is needed just for the insurance costs and that was the quote given just before Brian was transfusion dependent so it may go up" she said.
"My son Dean is in Brian's class and everyone loves him. He never complains what he has to go through and he is such a wee soldier. So if there is something that we can do to help him we will."
A sponsored walk will be held at the Maze Race Course on Thursday, May 27 at 6.30pm followed by tea and coffee. There will also be a coffee morning at the Hub, Atlas on Saturday, May 22. Meadow Bridge Primary School is also planning a fundraising event.
Jackie Mitchell and Pauline Fox have set up a Facebook page to support the fuindraising campaign which has already got 973 hits. People can also donate money at the Lark in the Park in Moira and artist Thomas Sheridan is auctioning off one of his paintings to raise money for Brian.
Anyone who would like to donate can do so through Brian Kerr's Wishfund Account at the Nationwide, sort code 070093, account number 33333334 reference number 0943/704150334. Donations can also be made at Dolly Doolittle Pet Shop, Longstone Street, Lisburn; Tan City in Longstone Street, Lisburn and Daltons Sandwich Bar, Market Square, Lisburn. Anyone who would like to donate can also write to Brian on 61a Old Kilmore Road, Moira BT67 OLZ.