An eight-year-old BRAVE boy with complex medical needs who is awaiting lung surgery, is currently raising money for other children in need.
Austin Thornber was born premature, with a hole in his heart and was diagnosed with autism, a genetic mutation that is only known as ACBG at the moment, and he is the 32nd in the world to have the rare mutation.
On top of that, he also suffers from ADHD and breathing issues due to collapsed pockets of infection in his lungs.
His father, Simon, says Austin’s heart is so big and he’s always “ready to help others”, despite his many health issues.
He added: “I’m super proud of him.
“He is such an inspiration to me and to others.
“He pushes me to strive for excellence every day.
“Everything he manages escapes him, and he continues.
“He might just be out of the hospital and he’ll be like, ‘what are we doing for a charity event?’
“Because Austin is such an inspiration, we keep going, because nothing gets in the way of it.”
He has already suffered two cardiac arrests at Moorgate Primary School and wanted to make a difference in the lives of other children.
Simon says everyone at the school has been extremely supportive and has helped Austin fundraise in the past.
Austin’s grandmother, Dawn Thornber, said: ‘I think it gave him purpose and that’s why he was committed to helping people.
“The challenges he’s faced throughout his life about what he can and can’t do have given him focus.
“I’m super proud of him.
“It just continues every day.”
Austin has been involved in a range of different fundraisers, including setting up stalls in his backyard, a 5k run, jam making, raffles, toy sales and bake sales, for to name just a few.
It all started when he was invited by the charity ‘When you wish upon a star’ after inviting him to a weekend of treats.
When Covid hit in 2019, he was inspired to do something for other children, when he was unable to do any of his usual fundraising.
Dawn added: “I was talking to her dad about a virtual race and Austin said, ‘I can do it’.
“So he helped organize a virtual race and raised £400.
“He loved it so much.
“He wanted to raise even more money after that.
“You name it, and it did.”
He wanted to give the children of the ‘When You Wish On A Star’ charity a chance to have their wishes granted.
Austin said: ‘I just want to give smiles to poor children to create happy memories for them and their families.
“I just want to raise as much as I can.”
Austin has already raised £3,000 in the past for the charity.
He was nominated for a commendation for his work by his scoutmaster, but instead received the scoutmaster’s commendation for meritorious conduct.
He also received a letter of congratulations from a Bear Grylls OBE and was invited to Windsor Castle next year for the Queen’s Appreciation Parade.
Along with his letter, he also received a medal at an award ceremony, complete with a ribbon he can sew onto his badge as a kid.
Austin said, “I didn’t know I was going to get a real medal and I’ll keep it forever.
“I was shocked but enjoyed it.”
Austin is currently awaiting lung surgery which has already been delayed twice, but he continues to raise money for the ‘When you wish upon a star’ charity and remains in good spirits.
Donations and support can be made here.