The Burton mother of a disabled boy with multiple health problems has thanked generous strangers who have "changed their lives" by raising more than £3,500 for a special "big boy bed" to keep the youngster safe.

Hayley Smith of Rolleston Road, spent two years worrying over the cost of a special bed for son James, six, when she was encouraged to set up a GoFundMe page.

She was overwhelmed with support from strangers who topped her £3,500 target and said it meant "the absolute world" to her family.

Hayley, 33, said James, who attends Saxon Hill school in Lichfield, was a "gorgeous and happy" little boy who had undergone a difficult life after being born with a number of health conditions including renal disease, downs syndrome and metabolic disease.

She said: "James spends a lot of time in hospital and there have been many occasions where we thought we might lose him but our little fighter has proved us all wrong. However, we don’t know what the future holds and my main priority has been to make him comfortable and do all I can to give him a good quality of life.

"James is nearly seven-years-old and has been sleeping in a small child's cot, which is totally unsuitable for him but we just didn’t have the money to get him something that would cater to his needs. This has been going on for more than two years and it has given me sleepless nights.

"Equipment for disabled children is really expensive and there are lots of different rules and regulations to jump through; it is ridiculous really, so our hope to get something nice for James that was less clinical was something out of reach.

James is pictured with his mum Hayley and his big brother Charlie

"James was in intensive care last year and I realised that I was putting up with things that were putting pressure on us as a family.

"He is such a happy little boy who loves life and doesn’t want anything other than fuss and cuddles, which is why I want to do my best for him.

"You want to make the most of their life because you don’t know how long they will be here and kids need these things to have a comfortable life so it is tiring fighting all the time just to go from waiting list to waiting list. Many services are non-existent at the moment so a lot of people are stuck between a rock and a hard place."

Hayley, who is also mum to Charlie, nine, said she never wanted to ask strangers for help but had been struggling to get the equipment she so desperately needed to make James comfortable.

She said: "Asking people for help is not something I felt comfortable with but after speaking to Nikki Wrench at the Donna Louise Hospice where James sometimes goes for respite, she assured me I am not alone and persuaded me to give the fund-raising page a go.

"We needed £3,500 to buy James a special pressure mattress that will give him safety and comfort, and raises up and down and tilts for when he is sick and has chest problems.

"We put the page up in August and by October 113 people had raised £3,610, so we now have the money and the bed is on order.

"It is a really nice colourful bed like a proper child’s bed and I can’t believe how kind people have been. The response was incredible and I have been overwhelmed.

James is a happy six-year-old who loves cuddles and fuss

"I couldn’t have done it without Nikki, she went above and beyond and so many people have donated and been so kind and generous. Even those who couldn’t afford to donate also played a part by sharing the page and I want every single person to know how grateful we are."

Hayley said the bed would make a big difference to her and her son, and give them "a bit of normality."

She said: "Strangers helping is really lovely and they don’t know how much it means. This will make a big difference to James and me. He can’t talk so he can’t tell me what he wants and he vomits quite often and when he is ill I get into bed with him so he doesn’t choke. He cannot help himself so it is easier for me to keep an eye on him but this will be a brilliant weight off my mind.

"It is designed for someone like James but it is still pretty and it will be so nice for him just to spread out in a proper big boy’s bed."

She added: "James is doing okay at the moment, touch wood. He just gets on with it and is never down in the dumps or feeling sorry for himself.

"The world is so chaotic sometimes and it is easy to forget that good people exist but this just shows that they do and even strangers can be incredibly generous, which is really humbling.

"It is really amazing and I cannot tell you how grateful we are to those that made this happen. It means the absolute world."

What is St Giles Hospice?

St Giles Hospice is a registered charity founded in 1983 by the Reverend Paul Brothwell to improve the care of local people dying with cancer. Over time it has responded to the needs of others in our community whose illnesses may not be curable such as motor neurone disease, heart failure, MS and respiratory disease. Staff also offer support for families and helpers.

The dedicated team provides individually-tailored care either at the hospice or in patients’ own homes across our communities.

The range of specialist services is provided free of charge to those who need it. Although St Giles receives some funding from the Government, it relies heavily on donations and fund-raising.

Looking for a job? There are thousands available at