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Cartoon hero memorial to brave teenager Zak
9:00am Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A brave teenager who battled a mystery condition throughout his short life has at last got the cartoon hero headstone his family wanted for him.
The colourful headstone in the shape of Bob the Builder now marks Zak Simpson’s resting place at Thornton Cemetery.
The 15-year-old died in 2011 after a courageous fight against the condition, which was so rare doctors could never diagnose it.
Since his death his mum Simone Lawless, of Laisterdyke, and her family have tirelessly raised funds to buy toys and give treats to other youngsters on children’s wards, at respite centres, hospices and children’s play centres.
But they also wanted a special grave for Zak and thought his cartoon favourite Bob The Builder looking over him would be a comfort.
The family found a stonemason in Doncaster who specialised in headstones for children and got help from a children’s charity towards the cost.
Fundraising events brought in hundreds of pounds needed to pay for the memorial stone and this week it was put in place.
Miss Lawless said: “We are so pleased with it. It’s a special memorial for our special boy. We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped make it possible and been so generous. It means everything to us, thank you.”
Zak had beat the odds to learn to walk and talk, but his chronic lung condition and inability to swallow meant he had to be fed through tubes into his stomach. Despite learning difficulties, he continued to fight his condition into his teenage years, but developed another illness which began to shut down his organs, which finally took his life.
Miss Lawless has already started on her next mission and is appealing for selection boxes, teddies and other Christmas gifts to give to childrens’ centres and childrens’ wards. Anyone who can help can contact her on 07936 432201.
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