Brave Laura hits fundraising target thanks to generosity at Christmas fair

A Weaverham Primary School pupil’s determination to raise money for special glasses to ease her rare illness has struck a chord with seasonal well-wishers.

Laura Dawson has Irlen Syndrome – a condition that affects how her brain processes the things that she sees.

It can cause discomfort, visual distortions, headaches and migraines, and problems with reading and writing.

There is no cure, but the effects of Irlen Syndrome can be helped by glasses with special lenses.

After learning the £400 glasses are not available on the NHS, the 10-year-old decided to set up a stall at the school’s Christmas fair in a bid to raise money.

Now Laura and her family have been overwhelmed with the generosity of people, which means they smashed through the fundraising target.

Mother Kat explained: “The condition affects everyone differently. For Laura, it makes words move around on the page when reading and makes her very sensitive to natural light, meaning she cannot stay outside for long.

“We’d been told the cost of consultations and glasses would be £400, which we can’t currently afford.

“We couldn’t believe it when a man walked into the school fair and handed over the full £400.

“We also received donations from local businesses and another local man, which means that we’ve also been able to donate £220 to the Irlen charity, Reading By Colour.”

Kat is now campaigning to get the condition funded by the NHS, and has set up an online petition which has attracted more than 250 signatures already.

She added: “We’d like to get this number higher, not only to get it recognised by the NHS but to raise awareness.

“Our local MP has said he’ll help us get it to Parliament, so I am really hopeful that we can make a difference.

“Irlen UK say as much as 15% of people could be affected by the syndrome.

“This means that there are many children across the country, just like my Laura, who need support and probably aren’t getting it.”

The visual processing problem affects up to 46% of people with learning difficulties, and approximately 30% of people with ADHA, dyslexia, autism and those who have suffered a head injury.

The petition for the NHS to recognise Iren Syndrome can be signed at: https://www.change.org/p/nhs-irlen-syndrome-made-free-on-nhs

For more information about Irlen Syndrome, visit: https://www.irlensyndrome.org/

For more information about Weaverham Priamry Academy, email: admin@weaverhamacademy.org.uk  or tel: 01606 852148.