TWO-year-old Dexter Stewart, of Belhus, is a bright little boy with an even brighter smile.
That smile was made even bigger recently when 200 family and friends attended a fundraiser for the toddler, who was diagnosed with Type 2 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) last year.
Speedway cars, characters from the movie Frozen, a drag car and farm animals were just some of the activities on the day.
There was also a food and a raffle, sponsored by local businesses.
Dexter’s parents Donna and Adam organised the fundraiser, with the help of friends Karina and Todd Begley, and Sam and Andrew Cox.
“We held the event not only to raise funds for his medical costs, but also to raise awareness about SMA,” Ms Cox said.
“It’s a condition not many people have heard about.
“The family will have to get a new car so that Dexter’s electric wheelchair will fit.
“The cost of buying a vehicle plus paying for conversion on top is a lot.”
SMA is a genetic neuromuscular disease that leads to progressive muscle wasting and weakness.
It affects not only the muscles you can see, such as those controlling his arms and legs, but also all internal muscles, which affect breathing, coughing and swallowing.
Ms Cox said a new drug to help those with SMA had just been discovered, but the cost was high.
“The new drug helps to prevent muscle deterioration,” she said. “But it’s very expensive – the cost is about $10,000 per treatment.”
Ms Cox said the family were grateful for all the support so far.
“So many wonderful companies donated towards Dexter’s Big Day Out fundraiser,” she said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.
“He’s the brightest, cheekiest little two-year-old you’ll ever meet, he’s a beautiful little soul.”
Ms Cox has set up a GoFundMe page for Dexter and his family. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/2mk9j78.