Grandfather hopes to send children to US to fulfil dying mother's wish
A man left as the sole carer for his orphaned grandsons hopes to fulfil his daughter's dying wish by helping them find a new life in the United States.
Single mother-of-two Joanne Lynch died last year aged 29 from an aggressive form of cancer. The disease had been diagnosed just a month earlier and was caused by a rare genetic disorder which had already claimed the lives of her mother, sister and grandmother.
Since then, her sons Kallum, nine, and seven-year-old Jack, have been cared for by grandfather Patrick Lynch, 64, at his home in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
But with Kallum diagnosed with the same condition and his own health deteriorating, Mr Lynch hopes his last remaining daughter, Sam Wells - who lives in Los Angeles, can adopt the boys to give them a brighter future.
However, people trafficking regulations which severely restrict adoption for non-US citizens mean the family must raise about £25,000 to meet legal costs and complete a series of assessments.
Former cab driver and publican Mr Lynch, who has undergone heart surgery and suffered two strokes, has now launched a crowd-funding appeal to help make the dream possible.
He said: "Before Jo died she promised the boys that they would always be together and that auntie Sam would look after them.
"I've experienced more grief than anyone should ever have to go through. I'm not well and I don't feel I can cope much longer.
"If we can't raise this money and I die, the boys will have to go into care and then the family could be torn apart.
"I just want to do this as one last thing for Jo so that we can know the boys will be safe and happy."
Mr Lynch lost his daughter Lianne, four, to cancer in 1986. His wife Eve was 39 when she died in 1993 and her own mother died from the same condition.
It was only when Kallum was diagnosed with cancer after his mother's death that doctors discovered the rare genetic disorder Li Fraumeni Syndrome.
Kallum has since been successfully treated for cancer, but knows it will return later in life. He has limited mobility and must undergo regular hospital appointments.
Jack is currently undergoing tests to discover if he too has the disorder.
Mr Lynch said: "It results in an extremely aggressive cancer which takes over the whole body very quickly and is virtually untreatable.
"I've watched three people I love go through that and I don't know if I could take it a fourth time.
"Kallum knows he's got the same as his mum and says he will beat it - I just want to give him the best chance possible."
Mrs Wells, 37, lives in Los Angeles with her fashion designer husband Shaun and their three children.
They told Joanne they would be happy to take care of the boys after her death.
The family spent Christmas together in the US to give the boys a taste of their new life.
But the US regulations mean the family must overcome a series of costly obstacles including DNA tests, parenting classes, house inspections and legal fees.
So far they have raised £11,000 through an online appeal and fundraising organised by Edward Worlledge Primary School where the boys study.
"Kallum and Jack have been through more than anyone their age can be expected to handle," Mr Lynch said.
"They have been so brave and try to remain positive. They're two great, loving brothers who never argue.
"We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of people so far - two ladies even donated their entire week's pension - but we just need to do that little bit more to make this happen."
The family's online appeal can be found at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jos-last-wish.