Brilliantly drawn boy

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THE outlines might be a little wobbly, the end result slightly more cartoon than Constable and the subject matter even more surreal than a Salvador Dali. After all, not even he painted dinosaurs wading through mounds of jelly or laser-shooting, bike-pedalling ducks.

&#149 Jack Henderson

But little Jack Henderson's cute artwork is rapidly becoming a money-spinning internet sensation.

The six-year-old has launched his own website, offering to draw anything anyone might want in return for a donation to the hospital which regularly nurses his sick baby brother back to health.

Within just 24 hours of it going live, he had already raised more than double his original fundraising target.

Requests came pouring in to www.jackdrawsanything.com, challenging him to, indeed, draw anything from Ben 10 aliens to colourful rainbows, happy piglets to scary Daleks. As word spread through social networking sites, Jack's fundraising total swelled to more than 250, well over his original 100 target.

It has left the Cockenzie Primary pupil with a mountain of artwork to do. So far he has around 30 drawings to complete and the list is growing.

"We've been amazed," admits Jack's dad, Ed, who helped construct the web pages under his son's careful instruction.

"This is completely his own idea. Jack said he wanted to do something to raise money as a thank you to the Sick Kids where his little brother, Noah, has been treated.

"He loves to draw and decided to sell some of his drawings in return for a donation to the hospital. It's been incredible how it's taken off."

Jack hit on his unique fundraising idea after watching baby Noah struggle against a condition which means the slightest hint of a cold can leave him fighting for breath.

"Noah has never been a very well little boy," explains 35-year-old Ed. "He caught a chest infection when he was three months old and the inside of his lungs got badly clogged up.

"The doctors say he has a condition called bronchiolitis. Basically, it means that the most basic chest infection or virus can affect the tubes leading to his lungs so he can hardly breathe.

"It's very frightening to watch your child struggling to breathe."

Frightening for Jack, too. "I feel sad when Noah's not well," he says. "Every time he has to stay the night in hospital I cry for him.

"One time he couldn't breathe very well and I thought he was going to die, but the people at the hospital are nice and they look after my brother."

Noah, now 22 months old, is given daily steroid inhalers to help control his condition, but mum Rose, 34, lives in fear that the slightest cold or infection could send him straight back into hospital.

"It's very stressful for everyone," she says. "Jack gets a bit weepy and sad when Noah's not well. His brother Toby is just three and he tends to rush around and look for attention, while Jack sits and thinks about things and gets out his drawing things."

Rose was running a stall at a charity fair when Jack first showed his entrepreneurial flair.

"I'd brought him along as a punishment because he'd been misbehaving," she grins. "He got bored and was doing some drawings and someone said they'd buy one for 20p.

"They were just trying to humour him, but next thing he had people coming up asking him to draw something specially for them."

Jack decided to take his idea a stage further and enlisted website designer dad Ed to help create his online pages, complete with a link to the JustGiving website where donors can leave their payment for their specially commissioned artwork, which he draws using Sharpies pens.

Ed then scans the drawings so they appear online on the website before posting them off.

Among the donations is one for 50 from a mum whose young son has just been treated at the Edinburgh hospital and another from the Sick Kids' own fundraising team, requesting a drawing of the hospital to put up in their staff office.

"Jack chose the layout of his website, the words and the logo - a hedgehog with pencils for spikes - because he loves hedgehogs," says Ed.

"I asked him how much money he'd like to put as his fundraising target and he said the biggest number he knows, 1 million. I had to tell him that it was a great number but maybe a little bit high, so we settled instead for 100."

The website was launched on Monday, but by yesterday afternoon the family, of Struan Wynd, Prestonpans, had to revise the target total to 500 as Jack had already exceeded his original amount by so much.

"There is a downside," laughs Ed, "because he now has to do all the drawings. Some of the requests are pretty odd, like the dinosaur in jelly, but he's up for the challenge.

"Jack has always loved to draw and he's quite meticulous. He can take ages making sure he's got all the details just right. We might have to limit him to doing two or three drawings a night or else he'll never get any sleep."

Maureen Harrison, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: "This is such an inventive way for Jack to help raise money for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation. It's a wonderful concept and Jack's drawings are just so cute.

"We would like to say a huge thank you to Jack and his family for supporting the foundation."

&#149 See Jack's drawings and donate on www.jackdrawsanything.com or www.justgiving.com/jackdrawsanything

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