Couple moved by Burnley dad's vow to help child with same rare condition as his son step in to help

A couple, who were so moved when they heard how a Burnley dad had kept a promise he made to help a child with the same rare genetic condition as his own son, they decided they would like to do something to help too.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 4:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 5:15 pm
Tariq receives the equipment from Linda and her husband John and their daughter Hannah.
Tariq receives the equipment from Linda and her husband John and their daughter Hannah.

So John and Linda Derbyshire not only sourced extra equipment that will prove to be life changing for a young teenager with special needs, they gave up their weekend to go and collect it.

The Derbyshires made the trip from their home in Burnley to collect the wheelchair and indoor adjustable mobile seat from Morecambe with their daughter Hannah who has learning difficulties.

And they delivered it to the Muscle Factory gym in Burnley where owner Tariq Khan will make arrangements it for to be flown to Turkey and delivered to the family of 14-year-old Shukru Gezer.

Tariq said: "The difference that this equipment will make to this boy and his family is priceless.

"I am so grateful to Linda for going out of her way to do this for me.

"Amidst all the doom and gloom surrounding us on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget that we are actually surrounded by so many wonderful people and the good outshines the bad."

Tariq made the promise to help Shukru after he met his family on holiday in Turkey last year.

While dining in a restaurant with his wife Kirsty and their children Sophia (14) and Kalam, who is almost 10 and suffers from a rare genetic condition, they were approached by a waiter who showed them a picture of his little brother who had the same illness.

The one-in-a-million chance meeting moved Tariq to tears when he saw the striking similarities between Kalam and Shukru. Both boys cannot walk, talk or eat solids and they also look strikingly similar.

And when Tariq heard that Shukru lived in a very poor village with access to physiotherapy but very little else, he vowed to do something to help.

On his return to the UK Tariq launched a fund raising appeal to source a gait trainer similar to the one that Kalam has that helps him to stand and walk unaided and also increases mobility.

Tariq was inundated with support and offers of help for his mercy mission and it has taken two years to find and buy the right model.

Tariq said: “The chances of winning the Lottery were higher than us meeting this man and I believe it was fate and God who brought us together for a reason.

“And that was for us to realise that there are other people in our situation, even though it is rare, and for us to see we have the ability to help them.”

When Tariq made an appeal for anyone who could help him source a mobile seat with a removable desk and tray he never expected the equipment to be found within days adding: "Linda not only gave it her best shot she hit it out the park and both her and her family went out of their way to make this happen and I want to thank her and the lovely family who donated the equipment for their generosity."

Linda found the equipment on a parents/carers page on social media that was being offered for free by a mother who had tragically lost both of her daughters to a terminal congenital disease.

Linda said: "She was an inspirational a lady and her smile and generosity was huge.

"She said she felt her daughters had 'guided' us because they were kind and caring young ladies and would be happy to know that others are being helped

"It honestly felt like it was'meant to be, from me seeing Tariq's appeal which led to me posting it on the Parent Carers page .

"I was then put in touch with the lady who had the equipment by another member of the group and it all seemed to fall into place and everything was 'aligned' when we discovered the chairs were in Morecambe and not the other side of the country."

Linda has also promised to keep in touch with the lady who donated the chairs and keep her updated on the difference they will make to Shukru's life.