We are extremely excited to have been named Specsavers’ charity of the year for Wales this year. As part of this, we are looking at the stories of some of the families that we have helped in Wales.
For six-year-old Ryan Hooper and his family, getting a good night’s sleep was a constant struggle until they discovered UK charity Cerebra.
Ryan, from Kidwelly, has Down’s syndrome and the condition often causes poor or disturbed sleep, something that affected him and had a knock-on effect on the whole family.
When his mum, Vanessa, heard a representative from Cerebra speak four years ago at a local Down’s syndrome support group, she was keen to find out more about how the charity could help her son. Helping him to get a better night’s sleep was at the top of her wish-list.
‘Cerebra’s sleep service was invaluable to us,’ she says. ‘Whenever I would call they’d answer my questions and reassure me I could cope.
‘The sleep practitioners helped us countless times and were able to get us into a routine, which gave some normality to our daily life.’
Vanessa is keen to promote awareness, and reduce the stigma, of Down’s syndrome and other brain conditions. As part of a larger group, Vanessa even climbed Pen y Fan at night to raise awareness and funds for the charity, and has since become an ambassador for Cerebra.
‘It’s thanks to businesses such as Specsavers, in addition to others that help raise funds and awareness, that Cerebra is able to help so many families like it has mine,’ she says. ‘It’s hard to think what life would be like had we not received the support from Cerebra, it would be a lot more hectic to say the least.
‘I’m proactive in raising awareness about Cerebra and its services, as well as awareness about brain conditions like Ryan’s. I want to remind the world that Ryan isn’t a lovely little boy with Down’s syndrome, he’s just a lovely little boy.’