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Disabled boy gets new wheels – thanks to Old Firm fans in the Highlands

By Alasdair Fraser

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Old Firm fans rallied together for Reece.
Old Firm fans rallied together for Reece.

A TERMINALLY ill little boy who is blind and unable to walk has regained “life-changing” mobility after a charity fundraiser by Old Firm fans.

Six-year-old Reece Mitchell and mum Donna were severely restricted in leaving home at North Kessock because of a cumbersome, unsuitable buggy.

In September last year, Reece was diagnosed with the rare, degenerative neural disorder Batten Disease.

Sufferers of his CLN2 variant — less than 50 in the UK and only six in Scotland — usually die by the age of 12. The heart-rending condition also causes seizures and feeding difficulties.

Mrs Mitchell suffered financial hardship after giving up her classroom assistant’s job of 20 years to become Reece’s full-time carer.

Taxi driver Tony MacIvor (55), of Old Perth Road, Inverness, was moved to organise the Celtic-Rangers charity day at Smithton Hotel in late August along with son Tony (27).

After rallying opposing fans and local businesses, almost £6000 was raised. Reece, who attends St Clement’s Primary in Dingwall, was thrilled to be fitted for the specialist buggy last Monday.

Reece Mitchell gets his new buggy, with mum Donna and fundraiser Tony MacIvor..Picture: Gary Anthony
Reece Mitchell gets his new buggy, with mum Donna and fundraiser Tony MacIvor..Picture: Gary Anthony

Mrs Mitchell, praising the generosity and kindness of fundraisers, stressed it would help her and Reece make the most of their last years together.

“Time is very precious to us,” she said. “It is all about making the very best of what time we do have left. When he was healthy, Reece loved nothing better than being out in the fresh air and would happily walk for miles. Without this wheelchair, we were very restricted. Now, there is no stopping us and no worrying about where we can go.

“The buggy is really light, strong. It just glides, whereas the last one wasn’t suitable for most surfaces given Reece’s condition. It feels like all our Christmases have come at once.”

Reece will receive his own buggy a month after the fitting, but has temporary use of one for now.

“It is incredible what the fundraisers have done for us. They have given us a new-found freedom. It really is life-changing for Reece,” Mrs Mitchell said.

“I know it wasn’t just Tony — so many others helped — but I really can’t thank him enough for setting it all in motion. The kindness of everybody is just awe-inspiring.”

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