A one-in-a-million chance meeting, with the family of a young boy who suffers from the same rare condition as his son, has inspired a caring dad to launch a mercy mission.
Tariq Khan, whose eight-year-old son Kalam suffers from a genetic condition that doctors have not been able to diagnose, was moved to tears when he was approached by the brother of a child with the same condition.
The meeting happened while Tariq was at a restaurant in Turkey during his annual holiday there.
He was approached by one of the waiters who showed him a photograph of his 12-year-old brother, who looked strikingly similar to Kalam.
Tariq (32) who was dining with his wife, Kirsty, Kalam and their daughter, Sophia (12) said: “He said he had been watching Kalam and how he reminded him of his little brother.
“When I saw the photo I could not believe how alike they were at first, it was amazing. It was definitely fate.”
Tariq discovered that the boy, who is called Shukru, shared all the same symptoms as Kalam including not being able to talk, walk or eat solids.
Tariq added: “The chances of winning the Lottery were higher than us meeting this man and I believe it was fate and God brought us together for two reasons.
“It was for us to realise there are other people in our situation but also to know that we have the ability and are in a position to help them.”
Tariq was so touched when he heard how Shukru lived in a remote village that was several hours away from the resort of Fethiye. His uncle, Mehmet Gezer, spent months at a time away from the family working to send money back to them.
Tariq vowed to help when he heard how Shukru had access to physiotherapy but very little else.
Tariq, who owns the Muscle Factory gym in Daneshouse, Burnley, with his brother, Buddy, said: “I made a promise to Mehmet that I would do everything in my power to help.
“This family have experienced what we have but they feel the same way about their boy as we do about Kalam, who is the light of our lives.
“He is the happiest child I know and he makes us smile and laugh every day.
"We feel blessed to have him.”
Kirsty (29) is a full time carer for Kalam who attends Holly Grove Primary School in Burnley.
Tariq is now trying to source a gait trainer, similar to the one that Kalam has through the NHS, to send out to Turkey.
The equipment, which can cost up to £1,500, allows the child to stand and walk unaided and also increases their mobility.
Tariq has been inundated wih offers of help on social media after he posted about the incredible meeting.
He added: “I will do this, either through fund raising or I will pay for it myself.
“I just need to find one that is the right size for Shukru.
“I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support and help.”