The family of a three-year-old girl with an incurable genetic condition have been “completely overwhelmed” by the generosity of their neighbours.
Jon Byatt and Laura Goodliffe-Byatt, from Stamford, were devastated when Jon’s daughter Hope was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease on their wedding day on July 1.
The couple were initially reluctant to tell anyone about Hope’s rare condition, which is similar to motor neurone disease and causes progressive damage to the nervous system.
But after a few weeks of coping on their own they gradually began to talk about the situation, and word soon spread around their neighbours in Caledonian Road.
The family were not expecting any help and were amazed when people they had only spoken to in passing began asking what they could do.
Laura, 39, said: “Once the neighbours got to know they really were touched by it. We have had some lovely offers of help.
“We didn’t know such kind people existed.”
Neighbours suggested Jon and Laura put together a list of things they might need, be it for Hope, themselves or their other children, Ethan Byatt and Kobi and Nieve Goodliffe.
Laura said: “We didn’t expect anything but we wrote down a few of our worries.
“For example, the car needed fixing. And we thought anything that would make Christmas more special for the kids would be nice.
“People took it upon themselves to go completely over the top. The next thing we knew the car had been booked in for a full service. One neighbour bakes fresh loaves of bread for us. People are busy and already have their own things on but they have more than gone out of their way.
“We have been completely overwhelmed by their generosity.”
And with Christmas coming up, Jon and Laura’s neighbours wanted to make sure Hope had some festive treats. They put up a display of Christmas lights on the fence outside her bedroom window. And they even arranged a visit from Santa, who called in during his tour of the town with the Stamford and District Kiwanis.
Laura said: “It’s almost been like the 12 days of Christmas.
“I don’t think we will ever move from here. It’s not just because it’s Christmas or because people feel sorry for us.
“People just can’t believe the situation we are in.”
The family have another treat to look forward to when they all go to Centre Parcs before Christmas thanks to the Make A Wish charity.
Laura said: “Hope will be limited in what she can do but at the moment she just wants to be with us and see everyone having fun. The kids are trying to make memories with her every day.”
Laura had a special message to those who have been helping her family. She said: “Thank you to all those lovely people for making it a better Christmas.”
If you would like to help Jon, Laura and their family, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org