MORE than £20,000 has been raised for an eight-year-old schoolboy with a brain disorder.

Thomas Meacham, of Pontllanfraith, was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy (known as ALD) earlier this month.

ALD is a genetic brain disorder that destroys myelin, the protective sheath that surrounds the brain’s neurons, the nerve cells that allow us to think and control our muscles.

The most dangerous form of the disease appears in childhood, generally between the ages of four and 10.

At first, sufferers show behavioural problems but the disease can lead to blindness, deafness, seizures and progressive dementia.

After Thomas’s family were informed that he had ALD, friends and family rallied round to help them.

The eight-year-old’s two best friends, Finley Howells and Jake Davies, who both attend Pontllanfraith Primary School with Thomas, asked their parents if they could fundraise.

Lisa Trace, the mother of Finley, said: “Finley always gets on with most people but he is quiet and sensitive and he found that Thomas is someone who is always there for him. They’re both sensitive souls and not like other boisterous little boys. They like reading and science.

“Thomas is a very bright active boy, you would have never have thought he would be diagnosed with this.”

“They are missing him as Thomas isn’t at school at the moment. We don’t know when he will return.”

Speaking about the fundraising, the 36-year-old said: “The boys wanted to do as much as possible to help their friend when they heard about ALD, so asked if we could do something.”

The families decided to set up a Justgiving page with a target of £5,000 for Thomas and his family – with the money raised going to help cover medical costs.

Mrs Trace said: “We thought that would a good amount to start at. It’s to help the family once they know what exact medical help Thomas will need.

“We didn’t expect to raise that in 24 hours so we thought we would up the amount to £20,000.

“We didn’t think we would make that target in our wildest dreams.”

At the moment the family are looking into medical help for Thomas.

The Justgiving page is still open for donations. Visit justgiving.com/crowdfund ing/thomsstory