Dog fundraising drive to help autistic Dagenham boy

Debbie Fenton with baby Kalvin, dad Eduardo Marrero with Kristian and mum Kellie McHugh with daughte

Debbie Fenton with baby Kalvin, dad Eduardo Marrero with Kristian and mum Kellie McHugh with daughter Kimberley - Credit: Archant

A devoted grandmother has launched a fundraising drive to help improve her young grandson’s life.

Kristian Marrero McHugh, nine, is on the autistic spectrum and has difficulties with communication and understanding certain situations.

Grandma Debbie Fention hopes to purchase a companion dog for him, but needs to raise £5,000.

“Kristian doesn’t speak at all and spends most of his time inside,” Debbie explained.

“He is always running out into roads and it is really stressful.

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“We thought a dog would be a friend for him and help keep him safe.”

Kristian, who lives in Valence Wood Road, Dagenham, would be connected to the dog, from Service Dogs Europe, with a belt.

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This means that if he ran out into the road, the animal would sit or lie down to stop him from coming to harm.

The dogs are specially trained to help disabled children and adults gain greater mobility and independence.

Kristian was only diagnosed a few years ago.

Debbie said: “He was four before the doctors said he had it.

“He wasn’t responding; he wasn’t progressing like a ‘normal’ child.

“If you put something in front of him he wasn’t going for it and said no words at all.

“The dog will be an extra person to watch Kristian.”

Debbie and her colleagues at Tesco in Barkingside, Ilford, are holding a fundraising book sale at the store next Saturday from 11am to 5pm.

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