After going viral for helping a 91-year-old, this humble plumber now exclusively serves the elderly and disabled
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.


In March of 2017, Anderson closed his plumbing business and relaunched it as a non-profit known as Depher. Depher is a community project for vulnerable people that provides plumbing services at a discount, and sometimes for free, depending on funding.

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Depeher relies heavily on crowdfunding to deliver its services and recently it received £2,000 from the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, the Queen's charity. When finding is low, Anderson offers a 25% discount.

Anderson explains the need for his services on Depher's GoFundMe page.

The safety of our elderly and disabled relies on funding and kindness, without it we may not be able to get to everyone that needs this lifeline.
From when this started in March 2017 we have helped over 1980 people and families, because of donations from the public and from ourselves at northern plumbing and heating ltd.
With this i know that we could make a difference to at least some of the 16.5 million registered elderly and disabled people in the UK and hopefully one day with your help them all.

Sometimes Anderson has to dig down into his own pockets to pay for jobs and he currently owes around £8,000.

"As long as I have enough money to fill up the tank in my car, I will be there to try and help the people who need it," he told CNN.

It all began when Anderson saw another plumbing company trying to manipulate an elderly person.

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"It got me thinking about other elderly and vulnerable people — we need to do something more to help the people who need it most," Anderson said.

"A lot of elderly and disabled people don't like asking for assistance and if they can't afford something like fixing the boiler, they might not do it and get into trouble," he continued. "We are there to take that worry away."

via D.e.p.h.e.r Community CIC / Twitter

In the two-and-a half years since he relaunched Depher as a non-profit, he has helped over 2300 vulnerable people.

When we think of the needs of the elderly and disabled we often think about food or health care, but when people are in a vulnerable position, health-wise and/or financially, things begin to deteriorate around the house.

This can create a dangerous environment and also a living space that doesn't allow them to live with dignity.

Anderson is a great example of a person that uses his unique talents to benefit those that really need the help. It begs the question, how can all of us use our unique gifts to help those in need in our communities?

You can contribute to Depher at GoFundMe.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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This article originally appeared on 03.19.15


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