DEDICATED fundraisers Steve and Maya McCormack say they’ve been “blown away” by the generosity of supporters who have helped them smash their cash target to build a specialist nursery in memory of their baby daughter.
The Ackworth couple set up Laily Milly Foundation – named after their daughter – in June last year after caring for little Laila who was born with the rare genetic disorder Aicardi Syndrome.
The tot died in March this year, a day before her first birthday, but the couple decided to continue fundraising efforts and have now smashed their £60,000 target to build the nursery in Hemsworth.
Mrs McCormack said: “We are completely overwhelmed at reaching our target.
“We thought it would take a lot longer than this but with all the support from family, friends and local businesses we have actually gone past the target and raised around £64,000.
“It has been an incredible journey and we are blown away by the generosity of people who came forwards to help us.”
The couple’s efforts touched the hearts of residents across the Five Towns, who helped raise cash by holding a range of events, including fun days, black-tie balls, and marathons.
The Express joined forces with the couple in January, launching the Laila Milly’s Wish campaign.
Mrs McCormack said: “We wouldn’t have raised the money as quickly had we not been able to get our message out there with the help of the Express.
“We have loved reading about all the fundraising activities in the paper, we have a scrapbook of articles so we can look back and think, ‘wow,’ look what we have done in the last year.
“People who helped us fundraise have also loved seeing themselves in the paper, it’s like a little thank you.”
Mr and Mrs McCormack, of Hayfield Way, have planning permission to convert a two-storey building in Kirkby Road, Hemsworth, into the specialist day-care nursery.
Mrs McCormack added: “We hope to be open by the middle of next year and can’t wait to be up and running.
“The specialist nursing team who looked after Laila have around 85 children who could attend our nursery for children aged five and under, so when we open it really will benefit a lot of people in the area.
“We will hire a couple of specialist nurses, but to begin with, it will all be down to volunteers and friends.”