THE parents of a three-year-old boy with a brain injury who survived against all odds today thanked the people of Inverclyde for changing his life.

Greenock couple Gillian and Michael Hepburn are overwhelmed by the incredible response to a fundraising appeal to make adaptations to their new home in aid of son Ethan.

Since last year kind-hearted family, friends and the wider community have donated an incredible £18,000 to help their cause.

Now thanks to a £20,000 grant from the Care and Repair service on top, they are able to go ahead with a massive rebuilding programme to their house.

This will give young Ethan - who has multiple disabilities after suffering a brain injury at birth - the chance to live as independently as possible.

Mum Gillian, 32 , of Mauchline Lane said: "We can't thank people enough for their support.

"We could never have been able to do it without them, this is more than we could ever have imagined.

"It has been overwhelming.

"The work will make a huge difference to Ethan's life - he will be able to move about on his own and have his own space.

"This wouldn't be possible without the adaptations."

The Tele told Ethan's story last year as his family organised a series of fundraisers for home aids and adaptations

Work has now started on a £40,000 extension which will include a wheelchair accessible layout downstairs with a bedroom, a wet room and all the equipment needed for Ethan.

Mum Gillian, a teacher at Craigmarloch School and Michael, a postman, told last year how complications at birth left Ethan unable to move his limbs.

Their son, who has cerebral palsy and was later diagnosed with epilepsy, was given just a 50/50 chance of survival at birth.

He was diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, a type of brain injury caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.

The newborn underwent 72 hours of hypothermia treatment ‘cooling’ and subsequently spent 12 days in the Special Care Baby Unit.

Since then he has made remarkable progress thanks to the care of staff at Hillend Children's Centre, his parents and physio.

But they suffered a setback when he was started taking uncontrolled fits and was diagnosed with epilepsy and both Gillian and Michael have to take it in turns to watch over him during the night.

They moved to their new home in Mauchline Lane so that they could adapt things more easily.

The couple were delighted to be awarded a £20,000 grant through the Care and Repair Service, which is now managed by Bridgewater Housing Association in Renfrewshire.

Gillian said: "I don't know what we would do without them.

"The team have taken care of any problems we are having.

"I wanted people to know that Care and Repair exist - I had no idea.

"I can't thank them enough for what they do."

Care and Repair was previously managed by Cloch Housing.

Project manager Alison McManus, who transferred to Bridgewater Housing Association from Cloch, is continuing to take care of the Inverclyde service.

She said: "We are delighted to help Ethan.

"That is what we are here for.

"We would encourage anyone in a similar situation to get in touch with us.

"All they need is a referral from an occupational therapist.

"We are keen to let people know that we are still very much here in Inverclyde."