Mum thanks friends for helping Sam

Jackie Freestone and Julie Jacobs with Natalie Swingler and her son Sam, five

Jackie Freestone and Julie Jacobs with Natalie Swingler and her son Sam, five

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A grateful mum has thanked two of her closest friends for their fundraising efforts which will help pay for a wheelchair for her son.

Five-year-old Sam Swingler, from Rothwell, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy.

Mum Natalie said she has been blown away by the generosity of people in the town, and especially that of Jackie Freestone and Julie Jacobs, who have organised events to help Sam including a ball in the town at the end of last year.

Natalie and husband Jimmy have paid tribute to everyone who has been involved in fundraising efforts.

She said: “One lad won £100 in the raffle and said we could keep £50 of it to go to Sam. People have been so very nice.

“The Conservative Club donated the hire cost of the hall. He needs a powered wheelchair, which we have now got the funds for.”

Sam’s condition – Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, which affects only one in 200,000 people – means he will find mobility increasingly difficult as he grows up. There is currently no cure.

Natalie said: “His joints will seize up, there will be an early onset of contractures.

“His mobility will be even more restricted. We thought we would open an account for him and we are looking into setting up a trust fund.”

She added: “We like to be quite optimistic. If they say there is a treatment then we have got the money for it. And if not then the money would still go to muscular dystrophy so it’s just nice to have that.

“I wanted to raise awareness of muscular dystrophy because so many people see Sam in a wheelchair but don’t know what’s wrong with him.”