A young boy with a rare illness has raised more than £3,000 for charity to help others with the same condition as he awaits his 16th operation.
Seven-year-old Reuben Hirst, of Ossett, was born with High Anorectal Malformation, a disorder that affects only one in 3,000 babies. The condition means that parts of his digestive system are not joined up correctly and he has no control over his bladder.
He has had several life-saving surgeries and is set to have his 16th operation, a mitrofanoff procedure, which will create a channel into his bladder.
Reuben decided he wanted to hold a school bake sale to raise money for the Mitrofanoff Charity, who have supported the family through the process.
He planned to raise £200, but managed to raise more than £2,000 in less than a week. And he has now raised £3,481.
His mum, Ruth Hirst, said: “He came up with the number himself - it sounded like a lot of money to him.
“We set up a Facebook group and he went and asked his head teacher if he could have a bake sale. He did presentations to his class and to the whole school and told them all about his illness, asking them to donate and help others like him.”
Reuben made more than £400 from the bake sale. He also did a presentation at church and raised another £183, as well as the flood of donations that have been coming through on his Facebook page.
The charity, which is run by volunteers who all have a personal connection with the disorder, said that a £2,500 donation would pay for its website, Facebook group, journals and leaflets for an entire year.
Reuben now wants to encourage more people to be open about the illness and not to be embarrassed about their bodies. He says the more people that know about it, the easier it will be for him to go about his every day life.
Mrs Hirst said: “The way he’s just easy talking about it, it has not phased him at all. It’s quite incredible.
“I am incredibly proud and we are so grateful for all the donations. Reuben is on Facebook, doing video messages saying thank you. He’s very overwhelmed by it. He said ‘I can’t believe how many people like me.’”
To make a donation to Reuben’s fundraiser, search Facebook for Reuben’s Fundraiser for Mitrofanoff Support.