Daily Mail

Housewife who donated £40k to baby Charlie

- By Alison Smith-Squire and Sam Greenhill

WHEN housewife Helen Barnes heard about the appeal to save desperatel­y ill baby Charlie Gard, her heart went out to his parents.

And after watching them discuss their anguish, she did not hesitate to contribute to their fight to get their son the best care possible.

Her husband was at work when she made an incredible £20,000 donation, but when she told him the money was going to little Charlie, who has a rare genetic condition, he was ‘very happy’.

She later doubled their exceptiona­lly generous donation to £40,000, and has since been in touch with the family. Yesterday she told why the couple – who she describes as ‘not wealthy’ – decided to contribute from their savings after reading about Charlie’s plight in the Daily Mail.

The mother- of-two from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said the family’s donation was a ‘real sacrifice’, but that she knew she had to help. ‘It is hard to understand how total strangers can steal your heart, but they truly have,’ she added.

Charlie’s parents Connie Yates, 31, and Chris Gard, 32, are in a race against time to raise money for pioneering treatment for their seven-month- old son. He is only the 16th person in the world to have a rare type of mitochondr­ial disease, which saps energy from his organs and muscles.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital say there is no accepted cure and it would be kinder to allow him to die. They have asked the High Court to sanction withdrawin­g his life support.

However Charlie’s parents have begged the court to refuse, and have until Monday to convince a judge that hope exists. They have found a doctor in the US willing to test a groundbrea­king treatment on Charlie, but must raise £1.2million to fund it. They set up a Go Fund Me page online to raise the money, and earlier this month it gained an anonymous donation of £20,000, followed by another for the same amount. That donor can now be revealed as Mrs Barnes.

The 45-year-old said she and her husband regularly gave away their savings to causes close to their hearts, and that when she watched Charlie’s parents on BBC 2’s Victoria Derbyshire show, her mind was made up. ‘I was moved to tears when I saw Connie and Chris being interviewe­d,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t believe the terrible situation they’ve found themselves in.

‘It seems wrong that their child isn’t being given the chance of life when there is something that could help him.’ She added: ‘I am a spontaneou­s person and immediatel­y it felt right to give them this money.

‘As a mother, you will do anything you can for your child and I just wanted to help them. So often we, as parents, are fobbed off by profession­als saying we don’t know what we’re talking about. But a mother knows her child best and should be respected.’

Last night Miss Yates said the donation had left them ‘over the moon’, adding: ‘Helen has since been a tremendous support and we are really grateful to her.’

So far more than £643,000 has been raised to help Charlie. To donate go to www.gofundme.com/ please-help-to-save-charlies-life

 ??  ?? Gift: Helen Barnes said she had to help seven-month-old Charlie Gard
Gift: Helen Barnes said she had to help seven-month-old Charlie Gard

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