Donors boost Morgan support dog appeal

Morgan Burnett (10) with Sister Sophie (12) and Dad Rowan Halstead at home in Lavenham. The family are trying to raise �5,000 to pay a charity to train a support dog for Morgan who is autistic. ANL-150103-215656009
Morgan Burnett (10) with Sister Sophie (12) and Dad Rowan Halstead at home in Lavenham. The family are trying to raise �5,000 to pay a charity to train a support dog for Morgan who is autistic. ANL-150103-215656009
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A mother’s dream of getting a support dog for her autistic son has moved a step closer after online well-wishers took him to their hearts.

Suzy Burnett needs almost £6,000 to buy a puppy for 11-year-old Morgan Smith and have it trained by a specialist organisation.

She set out to raise the money despite her own constant battle with painful health problems, including chronic migraines.

Suzy, from Lavenham, was struggling to get her campaign off the ground until word spread online.

Morgan, who lives with Suzy, his sister Sophie, 12, and Suzy’s partner Rowan Halstead, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when he was four years old.

His condition, a form of autism, means he struggles to make friends and at times is too anxious to leave the house.

The dog would be trained to respond to his needs, including leading him home if he became disorientated.

Now strangers from all over the country have helped raise more than a quarter of the money needed.

“We have £1,400 now – the majority through online donations,” said Suzy.

“If it wasn’t for the support and generosity of strangers, we would have given up long ago.

“We are overwhelmed by the wonderful messages we have received from people we have never met.”

Supporters include a couple who run a blog about their own five-year-old autistic son.

“They took him to their hearts, set up a Twitter page @friendsofMorgan, and have worked every day to turn his life around,” Suzy added.

Autism campaigner Anna Kennedy, and celebrities including comedian Russell Kane, have also retweeted about the appeal.

“Morgan is very excited about getting his dog, he has even chosen a name if it’s a boy – Jake,” said Suzy.

“Rowan and some of his old friends from college are planning to climb Mount Snowdon in June to raise more money.

“We will continue fundraising through @friendsofMorgan – our dedicated twitter account – and we are about to set up Instagram.

Anyone who would like to help can donate at www.letsgofundraise.com.