MARITAL ARTS superstar and actor Jackie Chan has pledged his support for a five-year old boy from Bromsgrove with a rare genetic disease.
Finnan Boonak was born with PMM2-CDG – a condition which meant his cerebellum (part of the brain at the back of the skull) had shrunk before he was born, leaving him severely disabled and wheelchair-bound for life.
Fin’s mum Julia, 37, a teacher at a Bromsgrove School, told The Standard her pupils hatched a plan to contact Jackie Chan after hearing about the little boy’s condition during an assembly.
She said: “I was amazed to learn the kind-hearted Jackie Chan was so impressed with my group of school children that he immediately sent a video message to say how moved he was.”
In the video, Jackie said: “Well done for finding something you care about.”
Julia said the star also sent a giant package with items he designed and signed himself, along with movie posters and DVDs signed by co-star, Donnie Yen.
Jackie said the gifts were sent to inspire the children to fund-raise, rather than just be given the money.
Julia said it worked wonderfully because the pupils decided to hold an online auction of Jackie Chan memorabilia to raise money for the charity CDG UK.
From the sales, 60 per cent of the funds will help Fin buy items such as a specialist bicycle to enable him to play like other children.
Funds will also go towards a physiotherapy bench for home.
The remaining 40 per cent will be donated to British research and support charity CDG UK and to Camillian Home for Children Living with Disabilities in Bangkok.
There is currently no treatment or cure for PMM2-CDG which Worldwide affects just 600 people. But Julia is not ready to give up.
She said: “If everything we know was bound in one giant circle of knowledge, then the realisation of a cure to Finnan’s disease lies just outside it.
“I will always have hope.”
Fin’s condition has inspired Julia to start a degree in molecular biology. She is now in her third year and hopes to contribute to research in the future.
She said: “Fin is a very happy, cheeky, loving little boy. He is the most beautiful gift that I could ever have been given.”
• To bid for Jackie Chan goodies and raise money for Fin, visit www.ebay.co.uk/usr/finnaboonna