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One more bid to help Masterton boy

The finish is in sight for a Masterton family fundraising to get their six-year-old son to a clinic in Austria, with an event tomorrow expected to get them over the line.

Six-year-old Mitchell Ryan is autistic, non-verbal, and has a rare condition called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder [Arfid] which means he has never eaten food.

A negative sensory reaction to any food means Mitchell rejects any attempts to coax him to eat, and so he currently lives on a nutritional liquid that he can only drink through a specific bottle and straw.

Since publicity about Mitchell’s condition and how his family is fundraising to take him to a clinic in Austria that has a programme for children with Arfid, his father Andrew Ryan has told the Times-Age they’ve been blown away by the support received so far.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who has helped,” Ryan said.

“It’s hard to not get choked up about it because we had no expectations for it and we’ve never done anything like this before.”

The cost to get the family to Austria and attend the clinic sits at $50,000 and Ryan said they are almost there.

“It’s quite nerve-wracking to do any of this,” Ryan said.

“But you just have to keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it, and get over it for your children.”

Ryan and his wife Isobel hope the final tickets for this Friday’s quiz and auction night sell this week.

Among the goodies up for grabs in the auction is a signed 1995 All Black’s test jumper, which Ryan reckons is “one of the coolest items, with the signatures of Jonah [Lomu], and Christian Cullen.”

Also in the mix is a Ross Taylor signed test shirt, Sir Richard Hadlee signed memorabilia, and a Hurricanes Poua shirt signed by team members and Black Fern players.

Ryan said he and his wife Isobel will both be attending tomorrow and are looking forward to the evening.

“It’s been pretty full on but we’re just overwhelmingly grateful to everybody.”

The Friday quiz and auction night is being held at Masterton’s Marist Clubrooms, with the quiz starting at 6.30pm, and auction and raffle following.

  • To register, text 0278820867. Tickets are $20 a head; individual and team registrations are welcome.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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