Adam Shieff was not expected to live beyond his second birthday.
Now 22, he is living independently with friends in Edgware. But his latter development would not have been possible without the support of Langdon, which helps those with learning and physical difficulties.
And to show her gratitude, his mother Shelley has committed to raising £10,000 towards a minibus for the charity.
“I didn’t think the future for Adam would look anything like it is now,” the 60-year-old admitted.
“When Adam was born he was seriously ill. We were told that without a bone marrow transplant he was going to die.”
His older sister Sophie turned out to be a life-saving match but Adam suffered a stroke shortly after the operation which left him severely disabled and with complex learning issues.
“It was a very difficult time,” Ms Shieff said. “We didn’t think about the future. We took it the only way you can, which was every day as it comes. But it was devastating.”
She gave up her job as a counsellor to support her son but it was not until he was 16 that a friend recommended she contact Langdon.
“We had heard about its college [in Manchester] and were interested in it.
“But I didn’t think they would accept him. We sent him away for a three-day trial and when he came back they said ‘yes’.
“When he went off to college they told me he had been doing work experience [packing shopping at a kosher deli]. I couldn’t visualise what that would look like so I asked his key worker to video it for me.
“It was eye-opening for me to realise he could do these things. He used his bad arm as a hook for the bags and packed with the other hand. It felt so great to know he was a valued member of staff.” Adam attended the college for three years before returning to London.
Ms Shieff’s fundraising is being helped by sponsorship for her monthly volunteering at Langdon’s book-selling enterprise New Chapters.
She is also hosting a charity screening of Praying with Lior, a documentary about the barmitzvah preparations of a boy with Down syndrome, at the Vue in Finchley Road on March 12.
The minibus will enable Adam and other Langdon members to attend more communal activities.
“People underestimate the impact social activities can have on people like Adam,” Ms Shieff pointed out.
“You think about what they need help with physically or medically but social experiences make a huge difference to them.”