June 20, 2014 | Community News
Employees at North East property and energy firm the Banks Group have adopted a new dedicated charity for the year in support of the young son of one of their colleagues.
Having raised £8,000 for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research over the last two years, employees at the Durham-based firm have now chosen to raise money for DEBRA, the national charity working on behalf of people in the UK with the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).
The incurable condition causes fragility of the skin and, in some cases, other internal membranes and organs, with blisters, open wounds and sores forming as a result of the slightest touch, rub or trauma.
EB came to national prominence a decade ago through the documentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, which chronicled the experiences of Alnwick-born Jonny Kennedy, and is likely to affect one in every 17,000 live births.
There are estimated to be around 5,000 living with EB across the UK, including 21 month-old Mason Crossley, son of Banks’ Senior Business Development Manager Miles Crossley.
Employees from across Banks’ different businesses and locations will be undertaking a range of fundraising activities throughout the year, such as workplace lunches, raffles and other competitions.
Miles is also organising several separate events in support of DEBRA himself, including cycling, golf days and taking on the Great North Run in September.
Miles Crossley says: “When Mason was eight weeks old, he had a large blister on the back of his heel which would tear every time it was dressed. We were referred to Durham Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital where, after a few months of blood tests and biopsies, we finally received a diagnosis of Recessive Dystrophic EB.
“It is a painful condition where Mason can blister from the slightest knock, a fall can scrape his skin off and rubbing his eyes too hard can cause blistering and eventually scarring, problems which can also affect internal membranes in the linings of places like the throat and stomach.
“It’s hard to say how the future will pan out for Mason because one person with EB does not suffer the exact same problems as another, but while there are always new challenges, Mason, his mum Sam and I try to live a normal a family life as we can, and he’s always smiling.
“DEBRA does a huge amount of great work to drive research into the condition and support the families affected by it – we’ve got various events happening through the year to raise money in support of this work, and to have my colleagues on our side for this fundraising drive means a huge amount to our family.”
Tony Eckersall, regional fundraising manager for DEBRA, adds: “DEBRA is very proud to be associated with The Banks Group’s employees as their Charity of the Year. The support and brand awareness that they can create is so welcome, and the fact that they are also supporting one of their staff members who has a little boy with the skin condition EB must make both parents very pleased.”
To sponsor Miles Crossley’s fundraising for DEBRA in this year’s Great North Run, please visit www.justgiving.com/milescrossley