Community moved by ‘Jaecob’s Story’

Jaecob Booth with, from left, mum Steph Booth aunt Charlotte Booth and Slimming World organiser Jenny Gardner. NA
Jaecob Booth with, from left, mum Steph Booth aunt Charlotte Booth and Slimming World organiser Jenny Gardner. NA

The community has rallied round a ‘bubbly little boy’ after a rare disease left him paralysed from the chest down and blind in one eye.

Jaecob Booth, three, of Fishtoft, was a healthy two-and-a-half-year-old when he became ill while on holiday in Bournemouth in August last year.

It was initially thought to be tonsillitis, but when Jaecob’s condition worsened doctors realised it was something more severe and he spent time in intensive care where an MRI revealed swelling on the brain.

What followed was a series of months in and out of hospital, where he was twice put on steroids and other drugs, and then taken off - however he relapsed both times. He also had to undergo a plasma exchange.

The ordeal damaged Jaecob’s spinal cord permanently causing paraplegia from the chest down. He is also blind in his left eye, which occurred when he was weaned off steroids for the first time.

Mum Steph Booth, 28, former Age UK assistant manager and now his full time carer, said: “It was absolute hell for all the family. Not knowing if you’re going to be going home with your child or not.”

The most recent diagnosis is that Jaecob has Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a brain disease.

The community, friends and family have since rallied round to support him.

Those who help have been kept up to date with a page on Facebook – Jaecob’s Story –which was set up by his auntie Charlotte Booth.

Steph said: “It’s amazing, it’s really, really overwhelming – massively overwhelming how much support people are willing to give, it’s unreal.

“There’s been loads of support, everyone’s been saying ‘what can I do?’ You realise when something like this happens what support your community does have.”

Grandma Elaine Booth said Jaecob was a ‘bubbly little boy who’s full of life’.

She said: “He’s lovely, everything you want in a little lad really.”

Donations to Jaecob’s Story have included £142.50 from the Unitarian Meeting Room Slimming World group, who completed a Slim for Good campaign which involved losing a total of 14 stone between them over a six weeks period.

Organiser Jenny Gardner said: “Supporting a worthwhile cause like Jaecob’s Story has given everyone a special focus and real commitment to their weight-loss goals.”

A 10k run by nan Louise Clarke and Duckworth Landrover also raised £4,242.08.

Steph said the money will be saved to help Jaecob in life including adapting a future home by, for example, widening the front door - which could cost more than £500.