Little Callum counting the days as big trip to see Santa in Lapland looms
A little boy who suffers from a life-limiting form of muscular dystrophy is off to Lapland to see Santa Claus thanks to the generosity of a local charity.
Six-year-old Callum McCorriston's mum Laura said he was beside himself with excitement on receiving a letter from Father Christmas inviting him to visit him in his North Pole grotto.
The Limavady boy was nominated for the trip by his nurse Isabelle Douglas, who submitted his name to the Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust.
Each year the organisation aims to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill and long-term ill children to visit Santa.
Callum is one of only a handful of people here with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a condition that causes muscle degeneration and reduces lifespan. It has left Callum in a wheelchair.
Laura said her son was counting down the seconds until next Wednesday, when the two of them will jet off from Belfast.
"Since Callum got his letter from Santa inviting him to Lapland he has been so excited," she added.
"It went to a whole new level on Sunday when we put up the Christmas tree at home. He came downstairs on the morning after and wanted to know if Santa had been. Then he asked: 'Is it time for us to go to Santa's house yet?' He asks that about 10 times a day - he just cannot wait.
"It is just the two of us going and is it only for one day, but it is an action-packed day. The charity behind the trip are amazing - they have the plane full of other sick children and Callum knows some of them, so it will great for him to be along with them.
"There is so much to look forward to. As well as visiting Santa at home, we will get to go on reindeer rides and husky-pulled sleighs before helping Mrs Claus bake some pies.
"It will be close to midnight when we get back home, but I know that it will be an extremely happy wee boy I'll be putting to bed that night."
DMD is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately one in every 3,500 live male births. There are approximately 20,000 new cases each year worldwide, according to the ParentProjectMD.
Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X chromosome, it primarily affects boys.
In 2013 the life expectancy for people with DMD was estimated to be around 25, but this varies from patient to patient.
There is currently no cure for the condition.