Bolton community celebrates Rhys Williams 16th birthday

A COMMUNITY has rallied together to celebrate the 16th birthday of a Bolton teenager who suffers from a crippling skin condition.

Rhys Williams, 16, suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, a painful condition which leaves him covered in blisters, with the skin on his hands and legs fused together.

Bandages have to be applied daily to Rhys’ body, with even the slightest knocks causing blistering and leaving him in pain.

The family recently received the heartbreaking news that Rhys heart isn’t functioning as it should be and that due to his condition it is impossible for doctors to consider operating.

The Bolton News: Community celebrating Rhys Williams 16th birthday on Whalley Avenue, Johnson Fold

The family wanted to do all they could to make his 16th birthday extra special, with dozens of relatives and friends coming together at his house in Whalley Avenue, Johnson Fold, to mark the special day.

Lights were put up on the home with a Dhol drummer and Bolton All Starz danders providing entertainment for Rhys.

Numerous cards and gifts were placed outside the home for Rhys with a large crowd with banners, confetti cannons and colourful helping to surprise Rhys.

Emma Parkinson, community champion for Morrisons Atlas Mills, Chorley Old Road, who helped organise the event, said: "We wanted to do everything we could to help the family celebrate the day.

The Bolton News: Bolton All Starz dance group at Rhys Williams birthdayBolton All Starz dance group at Rhys Williams birthday

"We’ve been taking donations and cards from lots and lots of people and have brought them here with the family today.

"A lot of this was organised quite last minute but the amount of people who have come to help is fantastic to see.

"Bolton is honestly the best community which is just shown by the amount of people here today. Hopefully we can give Rhys and his family the best birthday.”

His mum, Tanya, was joined by lots of other family in helping to mark Rhys’ big day.

The Bolton News: Community celebrating Rhys Williams 16th birthday on Whalley Avenue, Johnson Fold

She said it was great to see so many people there supporting Rhys, and was really happy with how everything was set up and going, and all the help they received in this.

Back in 2019, thousands of people from across the world responded to the family’s appeal in the Bolton News to send Rhys birthday cards and goodwill messages.

In just one week, Rhys was sent more than 9,000 cards, with the family spending 12 hours opening all of the packages, along with messages from as far as Chile, New Zealand and Qatar.

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