A HAMPSHIRE family have been handed a big boost after months of medical problems.
After just one week of being born premature, little Reuben Smith suffered a brain haemorrhage that left him battling for his life, while his twin brother Zachary fought off two bouts of meningitis.
While they defied the odds to survive, the brave youngsters were left with complex medical problems and have spent most of their short lives in and out of hospital.
So, determined to give the twins and their family a well-deserved break from the endless hospital appointments, their local community has joined forces to raise enough money to send them off on a dream holiday.
Throughout the whole Easter weekend all of Whiteley Shopping Centre's businesses and restaurants, as well as the Meadowside Leisure Centre, are hosting an Easter Family Fun extravaganza in aid of the courageous brothers.
The aim is to raise £3,000 for the family to enjoy a Mediterranean cruise, a trip that will mean so much to parents Mike and Haanagh and their older brother Harry.
They headed to the shopping centre yesterday afternoon to thank those fundraising for them, while the children enjoyed meeting the stars from Star Wars and the Gruffalo.
Reuben was left suffering from a severe form of cerebral palsy as a result of the brain haemorrhage and Zachary has problems with his hearing and spinal cord, as well as suffering from chronic lung disease.
Haanagh, 35, said: “It was their spirit that made them live but they have both been left with long term health problems and they both face surgery soon.
“Being in and out of hospital it is really hard to get any quality time together and you can't put a price on that, this is why this means so much to us.
“Having the whole community come out for us is so humbling and we are so grateful to everybody who has got involved.”
The event has been organised with the help of the Dreams Come True charity and will run until Easter Monday.