A GRATEFUL mum whose young son was struck deaf by a mystery illness is turning to another love, baking, to support the charity without which she says she would have struggled to cope.
Danielle Williams’ son Alfie was born healthy but at 18-months-old fell ill. He lost weight and his ability to balance and his speech and walking development ground to a halt, falling well behind that of his twin brother George.
His concerned mum took him to numerous medics, but none could say what was wrong.
Aged two, Alfie was pronounced profoundly deaf. Later, he was diagnosed with autism.
“I expected his hearing had been affected but to be told he was profoundly deaf hit me like a ton of bricks,” Mrs Williams, 33, said.
“All I could think was how he was never going to hear music or talk properly.”
Doctors put the family, from Denecrest, Medomsley, County Durham, in touch with the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), which has provided help, advice, information and a dedicated family officer, Wendy Westgarth.
“It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
“I’d never heard of them before I needed them but I don’t know what I’d have done without them.
“Wendy’s come to meetings with us and I’ve rung her in tears on the phone when I couldn’t cope. She’s just been wonderful.”
Alfie, now three, has hearing aids but often pulls them out. So his mum, dad John, 34, brother Lewis, 15, and sister Charlie, ten, are all learning sign language.
“Just because your child doesn’t speak doesn’t mean you don’t reach the same emotional milestones as other parents,” Mrs Williams said.
“It was wonderful when he first signed the word mam to me.”
Now Mrs Williams is using another of her passions, baking, to help NDCS by staging a fundraising Big Cake Bake at Bishop Ian Ramsey School, Medomsley, on Saturday, May 10, from noon to 2pm. There will be stalls, activities, raffles and more.
Her first bake, last year, raised £920 and she hopes this one will be even more successful.
To support Mrs Williams’ fundraising, visit justgiving.com/danielle-williams-big-cake-bake-medomsley