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Brave teen Timothy has the X-Factor

Personal stories

4 December 2017

A teenage boy who suffers from mitochondrial disease enjoyed a day to remember after The Lily Foundation arranged for his family to meet stars from X-Factor.

A group of young men crouch around a boy in a wheelchair

Timothy Haywood, 13, who suffers from mitochondrial disease, spent a day behind the scenes at the show’s London studio, accompanied by his mum Alison, dad Mark, brothers Christopher (17) and Theodore (11 months), and sister Amelia (3).

The family enjoyed VIP access to the X-Factor set during a soundcheck day. They met with the show's judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger, host Dermot O’Leary, and hopeful competitors including Kevin Davy White and Rak-Su.

Simon Cowell stands next to a boy in a wheel chair
Timothy, Christopher and Amelia Haywood meet X-Factor's Simon Cowell 

"It was such an incredible day out," said Alison "We only found out about it two days beforehand, and we didn't tell the kids so it would be a surprise. Of course they were blown away when they found out.

"Timothy is really interested in film production and studio engineering, so he really enjoyed being behind the scenes and seeing how the show is put together. Simon and Louis were really kind and took time out from their work to chat with us and show us around, it felt very personal

Dermot o'leary holds a little girl
Amelia got along famously with X-Factor host Dermot O'Leary

"Amelia is only three and not old enough to understand what a famous person is, so she wasn't shy at all. I think she rather surprised Dermot by jumping on him but he was a brilliant sport!"

The family was shown around the studios by Simon Cowell, who even time to record a short video voicing his support for The Lily Foundation.

"I can't thank The Lily Foundation enough for everything they have done for us," said Alison. "This was a really memorable day for Timothy and all the family, I don’t think we’ll ever forget it."

toe man and a women stand together one of the men is holding a little girl
Amelia, X-Factor hopeful Matt Linnen, Alison, Timothy and Christopher

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