Families with Autism Coming Together for Support (F.A.C.T.S) and the Bradley family recently officially launched the ‘Dan the Man’ Birthday Fund.
The ‘Dan the Man’ Birthday Fund is in memory of Maghera youngster Daniel Bradley who died on September 20 2018 after being struck by a car.
James and Janice Bradley are members of F.A.C.T.S (Families with Autism Coming Together), a peer-to-peer family support group based in Mid-Ulster.
Eight year-old Daniel, better known as ‘Dan the Man’, lost his life in tragic circumstances. While this is every parent’s worst nightmare, it is especially so for families with children with Autism as the children have a tendency to run off if startled, without an awareness of potential dangers.
Since Daniel’s passing, F.A.C.T.S membership has grown, reflecting an increase in parents fears and concerns, and their need for support.
A F.A.C.T.S spokesperson said: “We wanted to do something positive that would make a difference and create a legacy for Daniel and his family. Daniel’s grief-stricken mother mentioned that Daniel never was invited to birthday parties outside of the family home. This resonated with many of our members who all have children on the Autism spectrum.
“The aim of the ‘Dan the Man’ Birthday Fund is to run monthly birthday parties for children between the ages of 4 – 10 years of age who are on the Autism spectrum. At present, we know there are over 2400 children with a diagnosis of Autism living in the Northern Health & Social Care Trust locality (Department of Health, 2018). We will offer over 180 children per year the opportunity to attend a birthday party, with all the usual fun activities, but the event will take the specific needs of children on the Autism spectrum into account, including an Autism-specific partybag to take home with them. It will also be an opportunity to reduce social isolation and provide opportunity for social interaction in a safe non-judgemental environment.”