Sunseekers have helped raise cash to tackle a debilitating virus after a Swindon baby almost lost his hearing.
Four-month-old Theo was left deaf and need of a hearing aid after contacting cytomegalovirus (CMV) – a common virus that shockingly few people have come across.
Grandfather Mark Mason, who has previously raised hundreds of pounds for charity, was desperate to help and set up the fundraising event at the Polish Community Centre in Park North on Saturday.
Under perfect blue skies, a bouncy castle, cake sale, face painting and raffle raised funds for charity CMV Action, which raises awareness of the disease.
“CMV is just not known about,” said Mark, 51. “Until my son’s girlfriend contracted it I’d never heard of it.”
Theo’s mum Rhian Brown, 23, said of the fundraiser: “It’s been overwhelming.”
She added: “It’s a waiting game. The CMV hasn’t affected his eyes, but it has taken his hearing.
Brave Theo had hearing aids fitted a month ago. But it was only after their volume was turned up last week that mum Rhian and dad Ricky Mason, 23, really noticed the change.
“It was the first time he’d ever turned to hear a sound. His dad walked into the room. He just stopped, grinned and turned to his dad. It was absolutely amazing.”
The family want to raise awareness of the disease which campaigners say affects one in every thousand babies born – making it as common as Downs Syndrome.
“We’d never heard of it before. There was no mention of it during my pregnancy.”
Caroline Star of CMV Action, which campaigns to raise awareness of the disease, said: “'CMV damages two or three babies every day in the UK. It can limit a child's mental and physical ability and it devastates lives. Yet women aren't given the facts they need to protect their baby.”