The mum of a disabled schoolboy hopes a new boutique she has opened in her son’s name will also help others through difficult times.
Leann Cruse, from Denny, looked on with delight as five-year-old Cole’s eyes lit up after seeing how many people had gathered for the grand opening of the Longcroft facility on Sunday afternoon.
The Kinnaird Primary pupil, who suffers from brain abnormalities, was taken aback by the turnout for the Cole’s Boutique launch event, which even included a guest appearance from his favourite furry film character Sully, of Monsters Inc.
Operating from the Base Muay Thai Gym, on Glasgow Road, Leann plans to use the boutique to collect and sell “pre-loved, second-hand goods” not only to raise funds to help Cole live more comfortably, but also to give back to other families.
She said: “When I started this at the beginning I always said there are families out there in need for all different reasons.
“We’ve set the boutique up to help Cole and also to help other people.
“It has pre-loved, second-hand goods, toys, shoes, prams and baby stuff.
“Cole wasn’t too well on the day, he was in shock with all the people there.
“But the first ten minutes were really good, he loved it.
“It just came to me I had to start up a second-hand shop. I initially opened it in a tiny cupboard but the support I’ve had from the public has been absolutely amazing.
“I never expected to have as much support as I’ve got.”
Leann added: “We will take all donations and forward household items to people who need them.
“My door’s open. We’re always looking for donations. No matter what it is, we take absolutely everything.”
Leann received a helping hand from husband Andrew and children Lewis (16) and Kenzie (12) during the opening day, while Cole’s sisters Sienna (eight) and Kade (three) also lent moral support.
Though the boutique will now occupy a large part of her time, Leann has stressed she is still eager to speak with anyone interested in fundraising on behalf of her son.
A Helping Little Cole Fund, combined with various fundraising events, have so far generated more than £30,000 to help cover the costs of the home adaptations the Cruses hope to make to improve the youngster’s quality of life.
The Cruse family is also considering taking part in a Tough Mudder event and a sponsored abseil to boost the coffers further still.
Anyone who would like to organise their own charity effort to support the Cruse family is asked to contact Leann directly on 07703 669799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to Cole’s fund, visit www.gofundme.com/helpinglittlecole.