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Nursery staff rally round for Aaron; CYCLING MARATHON WILL RAISE MONEY FOR LITTLE BOY'S OP.

Byline: SAMANTHA NANDA

NURSERY staff are gearing up for a sponsored bike ride in aid of a Coventry youngster who suffers from a rare disorder.

Five-year-old Aaron Smith was diagnosed with episodic ataxia when he was just 11 months old. It affects his co-ordination, speech and causes seizures.

He can walk only about 10 steps unaided but is an outgoing child and is close to his younger brother Ben, aged 19 months.

Staff at the TLC Nursery, at Walsgrave Hospital, are holding an indoor sponsored cycle to help pay for an operation for Aaron.

The youngster, who attends Sherbourne Fields School, Rowington Close, is to undergo an operation costing pounds 1,700, to correct his saliva gland.

His mum Andrea Kenny, 26, of Tollard Close, Walsgrave, said: "Aaron needs the operation to correct his saliva gland as it means he suffers from a lot of chest infections as he catches germs easily, especially as his immune system is already weak due to his condition. It would also give him self confidence as he hates being a five-year-old who wears a bib.

"Aaron is a mentally normal five-year-old boy with a physical disability that can be very frustrating for him, especially when other people stare."

She added: "We have tried to get the operation on the NHS and have been waiting about a year. We even cancelled a holiday in October as we were told it might happen then but we're still waiting."

There are only two doctors in England who will perform the operation on children under seven.

The TLC Nursery staff offered to help because Aaron's brother Ben used to go there.

Andrea said: "To help raise the money we decided to take Ben out of nursery for a while and the staff contacted us and said they would like to help.

"We are really grateful to them and just hope to be able to get the operation sorted out as soon as possible. My partner, the boys' dad, and I are getting married in July so we're hoping to have it done by then."

Gail Burgess, assistant manager of TLC Nursery, said: "When Ben had to be taken out of nursery to help save the money for Aaron's operation, we decided we wanted to help."

She said about 30 members of staff would be taking part in the event, using an exercise bike. Their head office had already donated pounds 250.

The event will be in nursery reception from 7am to 7pm on Monday. Anyone who would like to help can ring Gail on 024 7662 2485.

CAPTION(S):

D17855_1 ALL ROUND SUPPORT: Aaron with his mum Andrea, surrounded by nursery staff (clockwise from front) Stephen Smith, Joanne Hutt, Charlotte Sutton, Deena King, Gail Burgess, Tracey Perks, Simone Holloway, Libby Evans and Marie Forster. They will be taking part in a sponsored indoor 'bike ride' on Monday. Picture: RICHARD NELMES
COPYRIGHT 2004 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 20, 2004
Words:483
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