RITCHIE Horrocks is a little boy with a big smile.
Just like any other three year-old, he loves being with his family and playing with his friends - but his quality of life could be severely compromised unless he gets the special equipment he badly needs.
Ritchie, who lives in Craigrothie, suffers from a rare form of achondroplasia, or short-limbed dwarfism, and has very limited use of his limbs as a result of damage to his spinal cord sustained during life-saving neurosurgery aged just seven months.
He’s unable to sit up and when he starts Ceres Nursery next month it will be in a wheelchair.
Now Ritchie’s parents Moira and David are launching a fund which they hope will capture the imagination of people in north east Fife.
Frustrated by the lack of help from Fife Council’s social services, the couple decided that the only way they could get the adaptations their precious son badly needs is by fund-raising.
Moira (40) explained: “Ritchie is a bright, sociable little boy who has absolutely nothing wrong with his brain.
“But he cannot do anything for himself physically and he needs specialist equipment to help him grow and develop.
“We have had to find funding for specialist car seating and floor sitting supports, which are all very costly, and we’re now faced with the issue of not having any downstairs washing or toilet facilities for Ritchie.
“Our kitchen also needs to be adapted and units moved so that Ritchie can sit round the table with the rest of the family.”
It was a friend of Ritchie’s eldest sister Emily (7) that gave Moira the idea for launching a fund-raising campaign.
She said: “A little boy in Emily’s class asked people to give money to Ritchie instead of buying him birthday presents.
“We were very touched, and felt that this could be the start of something.
“I have raised money for the Sick Kids Hospital and for Short Stature Scotland, and now I hope others will fundraise for our cause or donate to Ritchie’s fund.”
Moira and David (41), who also have another daughter, Lily (4), were devastated when they were told of Ritchie’s condition and that he would require risky surgery to have any chance of survival.
“Ritchie is one of only around five per cent of achondroplasia sufferers who have complications,” said Moira.
“Our main worry is his breathing as he suffers from obstructive apnoea and needs a ventilator, but other than that there’s no reason why he shouldn’t enjoy a good quality of life.
“With help to strengthen his trunk we hope he’ll soon be able to sit up, and his physiotherapist hopes he will be able to walk when he’s around six.
“He’s such a happy little boy and never ceases to amaze us all by how bright and cheery he is.”
Anyone who would like to help raise funds for Ritchie can contact Moira on 01334 828353 or on 07910 630910.