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‘I can’t thank you enough’ - Owen Watkinson from Attleborough plans to help Ellie’s Love charity after fund to replace life-saving nebuliser lost in Dereham reaches target in just hours

PUBLISHED: 11:16 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:35 06 September 2017

Daniel Watkinson, six, using an eflow nebuliser, the same as the one lost and presumably stolen in Dereham.  Picture: Owen Watkinson

Daniel Watkinson, six, using an eflow nebuliser, the same as the one lost and presumably stolen in Dereham. Picture: Owen Watkinson

owen watkinson

A father who set up a crowd-funding page to replace his son’s life-saving nebuliser has reached his target in just eight hours but will carry on fundraising for a charity which supported them.

Owen Watkinson, with his sons Ben (left) and Daniel, set up a fund to buy Daniel a new nebuliser after his was lost and possibly stolen in Dereham Owen Watkinson, with his sons Ben (left) and Daniel, set up a fund to buy Daniel a new nebuliser after his was lost and possibly stolen in Dereham

Owen Watkinson, who lives in Attleborough, mislaid the nebuliser while picking up a new lawnmower from Argos in Dereham on Friday. He put the Nike bag containing it and an X-Box 360 on the ground to make room in his car but then somehow managed to leave the bag behind.

Six-year-old son Daniel has cystic fibrosis and needs to use the machine every day to administer medication. His other son Ben, 10, is autistic and uses the X-Box as a means of calming himself down in stressful situations.

When they went back later to look for it, it was nowhere to be seen.

“I do feel really silly,” said Mr Watkinson, who works in A&E at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital. “We looked everywhere, in the bins, asked in the shops, but we can only assume that someone picked it up and took it, probably for the X-Box, not realising what else was in there.”

An eflow nebuliser, the same as the one lost and possibly stolen in Dereham. Picture: Owen Watkinson An eflow nebuliser, the same as the one lost and possibly stolen in Dereham. Picture: Owen Watkinson

The hospital gave him a new nebuliser but he was encouraged to set up a fundraising page by friends keen to donate to a replacement so the hospital would not be out of pocket.

“They cost nearly £600,” he said. “Daniel uses the nebuliser once in the morning and once in the evening to give antibiotics as a vapour. The different drugs he takes help thin out the secretions that build up in his body. This nebuliser is not like one people have for asthma, it has two different chambers because the different drugs can’t be mixed.”

The fund went live at 3pm yesterday and by 11pm the same day the target had been surpassed.

“I’ve been blown away by people’s generosity,” he said. “We’ve had donations from friends and family but also anonymously. I can’t thank them enough.”

Daniel Watkinson, six, suffers from cystic fibrosis and has to take dozens of tablets a day as well as medication through a nebuliser.  Picture: Owen Watkinson Daniel Watkinson, six, suffers from cystic fibrosis and has to take dozens of tablets a day as well as medication through a nebuliser. Picture: Owen Watkinson

Mr Watkinson said, if he can, he will buy Ben a new X-Box but if he has any additional funds left over they will go to the Ellie’s Love charity, set up in memory of Ellie Loades from Colkirk who also suffered from cystic fibrosis.

“The charity gave us some money to take Daniel and Ben to Harry Potter World and they have bought a lot of equipment for the hospital so we would love to give something back,” he said.

To donate to the fund go online here.

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