Air Miles appeal

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Sir,

We are writing to ask for help. We are wondering if readers could possibly let us have any of their unwanted Air Miles.

We are trying to raise money to take our 11-year-old son John, who is brain-injured, to a specialist clinic in Philadelphia, America, where he will receive desperately needed treatment which is not available for him in Britain. John suffers from Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and also a very rare form of epilepsy. The British Medical and Education Authorities have said that John has no hope of ever being able to lead a normal life, yet we have seen many such children being made well by the treatment programme of the American Clinic.

In the current economic climate, raising funds is becoming increasingly difficult, with so many worthy causes and so little spare money to go around — hence the Air Miles idea. Because we are an individual appeal, we cannot get any help at all from the government or the local authority, despite the fact that they cannot provide further medical treatment or schooling for him; thus we rely on the kindness, support and generosity of the general public to help us raise funds for John’s treatment.

Each trip to the clinic costs £5,000, and we will need to take him there twice a year for at least the next five years. The flights are a major item of expense, and each trip requires three seats. Each return flight takes up 7,000 Air Miles.

Air Miles received, in small quantities, when buying petrol, or other items, may be of no use to you, but to us they could mean the difference between John getting well or staying as he is.

Because this treatment is so very intensive (we do between 10-12 hours’ therapy on John daily), we are finding that we have less and less time available for the desperately needed fund-raising. It is a Catch 22 situation: the more time we spend on treatment, the less we have available for fund-raising and vice-versa. John is such a lovely little boy, who always remains happy despite his many problems. We so dearly want to make this treatment available to him, so that one day he may be able to look after himself, when we are no longer here. If there was any way that anyone can help us, we will forever be appreciative.

Evonne Aspinall & Paul Tayfforth,
The John Aspinall Appeal Fund, 74 Maudsley Street, Accrington, Lancs BB5 6AD.