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Battling Daniel and his devoted gran in line for award wins

A BARNSLEY toddler who suffers from a debilitating illness and his grandmother, who has raised thousands to improve his quality of life, have been nominated for several Yorkshire Choice Awards.

Daniel Green was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease - a chronic illness which affects the function of cells and organs in the body and causes a variety of symptoms - when he was four months old.

Daniel, who also has cerebral palsy, and his family have since campaigned to fund a hydrotherapy pool to help him and other children with life-altering conditions.

And their efforts have been recognised, with Daniel being put forward for Young Achiever of the Year and grandmother Zoe Darcy, 43, nominated for Inspirational Individual and Fundraiser of the Year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards to be held in March.

“The competition is so strong, there are some good people on the list and so to even be nominated feels like we’ve accomplished something,” said Zoe, of Beech Court, Darfield.

“If we don’t achieve it, it’s so nice to be surrounded by other people who we admire and have watched.

“It’s an honour and we’re quite overwhelmed. We’ll be there on the night, doing it for Barnsley.”

Despite being three years old, Daniel’s physical development is that of a months-old baby, and his family have so far raised more than £10,000 towards the pool, which will allow him to develop much-needed muscle tone and ease his pain.

Daniel was recently discharged from hospital following a period of illness, with his family taking him to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice to aid his recovery.

Zoe said: “He drives everything we do, so for him to have that acknowledgement as well is great.

“It’s so difficult for us all, year on year, but lots of people have come forward to help and get behind us.

“The Barnsley community have been so supportive, we can’t thank them enough.

“We go shopping and have people coming up to Daniel and asking how he is, and through that it creates awareness.

“Lots of people who we’d never meet otherwise have come up to talk to us because they’re in similar circumstances.

“He’s the most happy little boy, he never cries and is quite placid, he takes everything in his stride.

“He loves people and singing, and he’s really been getting into Christmas adverts.”

Events through the year have moved the family closer to their £23,000 target, with further fundraisers planned in the coming weeks and months.

Zoe said she hoped they would raise £16,000 by the end of the year and added raising awareness of mitochondrial disease was a welcome by-product of their efforts.

“It’s something not in the public eye, not many people are aware of how severe it is,” she said.

“We’re bringing it to the forefront of everyone’s minds, and the more movement that creates towards treatments and cures.

“What’s really disheartening is that there is no treatment for the condition.

“All these children are true warriors. You might get an illness or go to hospital once or twice, but that’s a weekly or monthly thing for these kids.”

The Charlie Gard Foundation, founded by Connie and Chris Gard to help families affected by mitochondrial disease, has backed the family’s campaign, previously organising a firewalk in Newcastle where Daniel has received treatment.

A spokesman for the foundation said: “Zoe works tirelessly to support Daniel with all that he needs on a day-to-day basis, and Daniel battles through his difficulties with a smile on his face - always.

“We’re very proud of them both and wish them all the luck for the awards.”

To vote for Zoe and Daniel, click here before February 1.


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