BY Ryan McDougall | February 22 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

fundraiser x factor

From homelessness to bereaved families, Andrew’s fundraising has the X-Factor

A young boy with additional support needs (ASN) has been praised for his ‘kindness and compassion’ after he led a fundraising drive to support parents who have lost newborn babies.

Eight-year-old Andrew Smith, a pupil of St Mary’s Primary School in Polbeth, West Lothian, hopes to raise as much as possible for SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) Lothians, a charity which befriends and provides counselling to families who have suffered the tragedy of a stillbirth or the death of a newborn child.

17 babies die every day in the UK, with one in every 200 stillborn and one in 300 dying in the first four weeks of life.

Andrew’s raffle tickets cost £2, and the proceeds will go towards ensuring the charity can continue its work both in palliative care and in funding research to reduce neonatal deaths and stillbirths.

The lucky winners of the raffle will receive a prize gift to attend The X Factor Live concert on February 28 at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

This is not the first time young Andrew has done his bit to help others through charity. Ahead of Christmas, he launched a GoFundMe page to raise cash which went towards food, clothes and hygiene products for the homeless in Edinburgh.

Compassion

So far, his latest appeal has raised more than £160, and his mum, Sarah, said she has been ‘blown away’ by her son’s empathy for others.

She said: “A couple of months after the homeless appeal I suggested we start to focus on a new charity, so I gave him some different ideas and told him about SANDS and what they do.

“He was just so upset at the thought of people losing their babies, and we feel that a lot of people avoid that conversation because it’s so sensitive.

“So I said, ‘why do you want to choose this [cause]?’ and he said ‘because the parents must be so sad.’

“I think between this and the homeless work he did in December he wants to raise awareness that these things do happen and that parents are affected and need counselling and support, which is what SANDS provide.”

Andrew has ADHD, Autism and Global Developmental Delay but Ms Smith said her son busts myths about the condition.

“He shows that you can have a condition like Autism and still make a difference in other people’s lives,” she said.

“Andrew loves getting involved in helping others and has a great sense of knowing when something’s wrong in the world and that it needs to change.

“When you look at it, it’s the kids who are the ones who see there needs to be change in the world, and it makes you think that if a child can do it then what could an adult do if they decided to help?”

Appreciation

Members of SANDS Lothians have expressed their gratitude to the young man for his charitable initiative.

Nicola Welsh, CEO of the charity, has personally endured the loss of a child.

She said: “I was so touched to read about this inspirational young man and would love to meet him in person to thank him for his kindness.

“As a bereaved parent myself, I understand the overwhelming grief that is experienced when a baby or young child dies and I am proud of all the support we can offer families which includes befriending and free counselling.

“No family should have to go through this alone and we are flexible with our support as everyone’s journey is different.

“The families are at the heart of all we do and Andrew’s fundraising will help us continue to support people at the worst of times.”

The X Factor Live takes place in the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Thursday February 28, and raffle winners will be announced on the February 24 at 1pm—four days before the big night.

To buy raffle tickets, visit paypal.me/AndrewsReachingOut and to keep up with the youngster’s charitable endeavours, search ‘Andrew’s Reaching Out’ on Facebook.

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