Raising vtal funds for Joe Joe

Date published: Wednesday, September 3, 2014
OLDHAM Rugby League Club have joined forces with a local family to raise funds for a little boy with severe mental and physical disabilities.
Four-year-old Joseph Sydney Atherton, known as Joe Joe, will be the team’s mascot at Sunday’s game against Gloucester All Golds, leading out the side in his wheelchair, pushed by a family member.
His story will be told in brief over the public address system and family and friends will organise a bucket collection among supporters.
Said club chairman Chris Hamilton: “Joe Joe is a lovely little boy, whose story has touched me deeply.
“The club has adopted his appeal and we will be getting involved in the family’s fund-raising activities.
“They asked us for a signed shirt to raffle off, but I felt we could do more than that.
“By having the collection, we are trying to make a small difference and we are asking our fans to give generously.”
Chris, who has raised hundreds of pounds for breast-cancer charities in the past, is also planning a personal challenge to raise funds for Joe Joe, details of which will be announced later.
Joe Joe and his parents, Sarah and Billy, live in Widnes, where Joe Joe attends a special school, but most of the extended family live in Chadderton and Shaw.
In charge of fund-raising are Joe Joe’s grandma, Marilyn Atherton, of Fold Green, Chadderton and his auntie, Andrea McKenna, who lives in Shaw.
Joe Joe was starved of oxygen at birth and was in a special care baby unit for six weeks.
He suffered severe brain damage and has numerous conditions including epilepsy, cerebral palsy, hyposalivation and hypersensitivity issues.
He is unable to walk, talk, stand, crawl, sit, hold up his head, swallow, eat or drink.
Said Marilyn: “Despite all his problems, Joe Joe has an amazing smile and a contagious giggle.
“He is a very special and much loved member of our family unit.”
Fund-raising will be ongoing, but the initial target is £6,000 for a special chair (a P Pod), a special bed and a car seat which can swivel to make access easier.
Added Marilyn: “These are essential items of equipment to improve Joe Joe’s quality of life and to keep him as safe and as comfortable as we can as he gets taller and heavier.
“His mum and dad also need as much support as they can get. Joe Joe doesn’t sleep well and mum and dad are usually up to him at least six times during every night.”
A fashion show and clothes sale, to raise funds for the appeal, will be held at Chadderton Reform Club, Middleton Road, Chadderton, OL9 0LG on Friday, September 19 at 7.15pm.
Tickets, priced £5, include free entry into a draw for a £50 clothes voucher to be spent on the night.
Donations can also be made on line at  www.gofundme.com/8m3oek or on Paypal at joejoesfund@hotmail.com