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Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News And Media
The parents of a little boy with a terminal illness have thanked LADbible readers after they donated thousands of pounds to get 'life-changing' all-terrain wheelchair.
Zach Holland, eight, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which sadly has a 100 percent fatality rate.
The condition means Zach's muscles will slowly waste away as he gets older, forcing him to rely more and more on his parents or a wheelchair for motility.
In an attempt to give him a more normal life, his brave stepdad Josh Collins and family friend Dan Perks, who are both terrified of heights, skydived from 13,000 feet in the air to bring in donations to buy the youngster a specially designed wheelchair.
Mum Laura Holland says she thought they would be fundraising for more than a year to buy the device, but is overwhelmed that support from LADbible readers allowed them to reach their £14,000 target so quickly.
Laura, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, said: "We were expecting to be doing fundraisers for at least a year, just adding to the pot and adding to the pot.
"But when LADbible shared it, it went from being a small fundraiser to being huge. All of their readers were so kind and they don't even know us. It exploded, and now it's happened.
"Zach is so grateful. He doesn't understand how many people pulled together to make it happen for him. It's all a bit overwhelming for him, but he's very, very grateful."
Josh, who works as a barber, added: "If we didn't have LADbible and we didn't have [the readers who donated], we wouldn't have been able to do it. We wouldn't have even come close. We'd still be fundraising."
Twenty-eight-year-old Laura says Zach has already been 'transformed' by the wheelchair and, instead of being scared he will be knocked over every school playtime, he can now enjoy playing with his friends.
"The wheelchair is so cool," Laura said. "It's amazing. We've only had it for a few days and everything is different.
"The biggest difference so far is school runs. Zach now looks forward to going to school. There's a big field outside his school so he goes for a whizz around that [in his wheelchair] before he goes in.
"That's really fun for him. He uses it at school now. He wasn't sure he wanted to, but now that he's got it and knows how much he loves it, he wants it in school for playtime.
"He was always worrying about playtime because he was scared he was going to get knocked over. There were some occasions where he did get knocked over.
"Now he's really confident in the playground. I've had some really nice messages from the staff at his school who have said it's amazing to see him whizzing around at playtime.
"He's got all the other kids around him playing cards. He loves it.
"We haven't had much opportunity to test out the all-terrain bits of it yet so we're hoping the weather is going to be good this weekend so we can do a forest trek and make the most of it.
"We want to get the tyres a bit muddy."
In the end, a grand total of £14,142 was raised through their GoFundMe campaign, which covered the wheelchair, its adaptations, insurance and storage.
The three-year anniversary of Zach's diagnosis is coming up on December 11, with Laura and Josh determined to do take him somewhere special in his new wheelchair to commemorate the day.
The family are also hoping for a white Christmas to give Zach his first taste of playing in the snow.
Laura, who works as a supervisor, said: "This wheelchair can apparently handle snow. Usually we keep Zach inside.
"He loves the snow. He gets really excited when it snows, but then as soon as he steps in it he feels like he's going to fall and doesn't actually want to go out and play in it.
"This time I think it will be completely different. He will be able to enjoy the snow as much as any other kid.
"Depending on lockdown, it would be nice to be able to go to my mum's for Christmas but if not we can go for a walk on Christmas day and start a new tradition. A Christmas stroll.
"Everything in our lives has changed [thanks to the wheelchair].
"December 11 is hard. That's the anniversary of it. It's always a weird one, but we try and do something special on that day to try and keep our minds off it.
"What I did on the first anniversary was I had a tattoo of a photo I took of Zach, I had that tattooed on me.
"It was to remind me that on that day I decided to always have hope and to always be strong. And to make that decision not to let Duchenne win, ever.
"We try and think of all the positives on a day that would otherwise be really difficult.
"I think this year we'll be in lockdown. Even if we can't see family or anything we'll find a special place to go to that we haven't been to before."
Despite bravely hurling himself out of a plane, Josh admits that he's still scared of heights, but will be 'more rational' about his fear in the future.
He and Dan are now thinking up more ways they can fundraise to create some 'big memories' for Zach and are already eyeing up a bodybuilding competition and a charity boxing match.
You can donate to Zach's fundraising page here.