The parents of a toddler who needs specialist equipment to help him grow and develop have thanked well-wishers for their generosity.

Weymouth couple Sian and Dominic Ellard have received many donations and messages of support after recently appealing for donations to help fund a specialist cot for their son, Ralph. Known as Ralphie, he was born nine weeks prematurely and, as a result, suffered many complications.

Having suffered severe brain damage, he was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

It affects his whole body, meaning he needs specialist equipment. His parents regularly need to fundraise to provide Ralphie, who is now aged 20 months, with the equipment he needs.

Last month, they turned to the public for help to raise £5,000 for a specialist cot and were shocked when one was donated.

Sian said: “It came out of the blue. A social worker who works with people with disabilities was able to donate one.

“People have very generous and kind, which is nice to see. It also means Ralphie’s story is being heard and touching people. People are shocked when they hear his equipment is not funded when it’s something he really needs.”

The couple will continue to fundraise and are hoping to buy Ralphie an adapted wheelchair.

“There is always something else,” said Sian.

“He is growing constantly and outgrowing what he has.”

The family are supported by charity Just 4 Children and Sian is planning to distribute 15 collection tins across the area.

Ralphie was delivered at 31 weeks and spent six weeks at Dorset County Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.

During that time, he suffered multiple bleeds and a blood clot in his brain. He also suffered a pneumothorax needing a chest drain and was ventilated for 48 hours.

But Ralphie fought through and overcame the odds against him. As a result of the injuries, Ralphie sustained substantial brain damage, called periventricular leukomalacia, and as a direct result was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia, a severe form of cerebral palsy.

He is unable to crawl, sit or walk unaided and his sight and hearing are affected. Despite his condition, Sian and Dominic, who have two other boys Charlie, eight, and sixyear-old Freddie, say Ralphie “is a typical two-year-old.”

To donate, visit just4children. org/children-helped2017/ raising-for-ralphie