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Dancers to help terminally ill Highland boy at Raise The Roof For Reece event in Inverness

By Alasdair Fraser

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Reece Mitchell and his mum Donna.
Reece Mitchell and his mum Donna.

RAVERS and disco divas can hit the dancefloor tonight to raise funds to help a terminally-ill North Kessock lad remain at home in the last years of his life.

Six-year-old Reece Mitchell, who suffers from an extremely rare form of the incurable nervous system disorder Batten disease, is unlikely to live beyond the age of 12.

He will require increasingly intensive medical and nursing care in his final years, with loving mum Donna determined to raise £60,000 to build a specialist living ‘pod’ in their back garden.

With more than a fifth of the cash already secured by crowd-funding, family friend Tracey Hamilton hastily arranged a ‘Raise The Roof For Reece’ party night at SoBar in Inverness to maintain momentum.

Renowned local DJ James Fraser of the 1980s and 1990s is stepping out of retirement and getting back behind the decks for the evening. Tickets for the 8 o’clock event are £10, with all proceeds going to the cause.

Reece has CLN2-type Batten disease, a rare, neurodegenerative condition that causes blindness, memory loss, early dementia, loss of physical movements and speech, and distressing seizures. Unable to weight bear or walk, Reece is completely reliant on mum Donna to provide all of his care needs.

Mrs Mitchell explained why she was so keen to avoid uprooting the family from their council home of 20 years.

“We have had massive housing issues, ongoing since January. About three weeks ago, I got the go-ahead to privately fundraise for this pod,” she said.

“Obviously, £60,000 is a lot of money, but everybody is pulling together fantastically to raise the sum.

“Reece is going to require palliative care as his condition deteriorates.”

The pod, featuring a bedroom, living area and wetroom, would be the first of its kind made by Invergordon-based manufacturer Carbon Dynamic Scotland.

“It would make life so much more comfortable for him,” Mrs Mitchell explained. “It would have space for carers coming back and forth, as well as smaller things you don’t always think about like extra electrical sockets for all the equipment we’re going to need.

“I’m carrying Reece up and down stairs just now, which is difficult. Rather than be in hospital, Reece will be able to be in his own home with as much dignity and comfort as possible. Our only alternative would be to move to more specialist accommodation, but we don’t want to because, unfortunately after Reece dies we would have to move again, this time knowing my child isn’t coming with me.”

The pod would be portable and passed on as a community facility for others requiring palliative care.

The fundraising page is found at https://www.cashforkidsgive.co.uk/campaign/raise-the-roof-for-reece-/

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