Every parent thinks their newborn baby is special, but for one couple the newest addition to their family is so very precious.
Before adorable seven month old Jacob Duffy was born, his parents had believed he was perfectly healthy with nothing being detected during pregnancy. But a shock was in store when on November 7 last year they discovered their bouncing baby boy had extra digits - 12 fingers and 12 toes.
And the tot was also born with a hole in his heart and the rare condition Colomboma which affects just one in 10,000 babies
Mum Rachael Hendry, who is from the Denshaw estate in Morley before moving with partner John Duffy to their home in Middleton, said: “He is what’s known as a child with a complex syndrome. He has Coloboma, which is a rare condition and means he has underdeveloped eyes. He also has a hole in his heart and extra fingers and toes.
“He is severely sight impaired and will be registered as blind.”
It was heart scan that showed up the hole, which - it is hoped - will close by itself by the time he celebrates his first birthday.
Rachael, 24, a bank worker, said: “It’s quite a common condition for people to be born with a hole in their heart, but it goes undetected, never knowing they have it. We’re hoping it will close by itself so he won’t have to go through surgery.”
Jacob’s eye problems are more serious, suffering from coloboma, which affects just one in 10,000 babies, means the congenital defect doesn’t allow parts of his eyes to form properly.
Doctors say it is difficult to assess how much of his sight is impaired with being so young, but will keep assessing him as he grows.
To help Jacob with his development, the family, which includes his big sister Amelia, six, are fundraising to create a sensory room, which is full of equipment such as lights and wires, to help Jacob develop and play.
The idea started with a friend of Rachael’s, Claire Dexter, who took on a huge challenge to raise almost £1,500 - the Tough Mudder UK course.
Claire, who owns Clayton’s Herbalists in Morley, has been friends with Rachael, whose parents owned Pattison’s fruit and veg business, also in Morley Market, for years.
Claire said: “When I heard about Jacob I just wanted to take it all away for them - do something to help. Doing the Tough Mudder challenge was very, very hard. I really wanted to give up, but the thought of Jacob pushed me to finish.”
And Claire’s efforts kick-started the fundraising for ‘Looking through Jacob’s eyes’, raising almost £1,500, with many more events being organised by friends and family in the future.
It is hoped £15,000, which will help them with a loft conversion to make way for the sensory unit and the unit itself, which will be invaluable to Jacob as he grows up.
A fundraising evening has been planned for August 28 at Beeston Social Club where there will be face painting, entertainment and raffles with a week in Turkey and a week in Primrose Valley up for grabs.
For more information, visit Facebook page Looking through Jacob’s Eyes or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations can also be made by visiting https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/9yxE8
Rachael said: “Jacob is doing really well and we’re focussing on him developing like any other baby.”