TENS of thousands of people have responded to the story of a schoolboy in agonising pain with a rare skin condition after his desperate mother appealed for help to make her son see life is worth living.

People from around the world have rushed to help Rhys Williams — a boy who battles with the pain of skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, leaving him covered in blisters and the skin on his hands and legs fused together.

After struggling over the last few months, Rhys sent a tragic text to his mum, Tanya, saying he wishes “a butterfly would come and take him away”.

Devastated, Ms Williams contacted The Bolton News last week to show him he has something to fight for ahead of his 14th birthday on September 21.

All Ms Williams appealed for was a few birthday cards to show her son that people cared. In just one week, Rhys has been sent more than 9,000 cards from across the globe.

This weekend, the family spent 12 hours opening all of the packages, along with messages from as far as Chile, New Zealand and even Qatar.

The Liverpool fan personally received an offer of box match tickets from the football club's chief executive, while Bolton Wanderers has invited the youngster to be a mascot for the team on his birthday. Bolton's mayor is hoping to give Rhys the chance to spend a day in her shoes and a national production company has given Rhys the opportunity to have a magical night at the circus.

But the cards and offers came only just in time, met with a heartbreaking reminder of Rhys' condition. On Sunday, Ms Williams said on Facebook: "So glad we managed to do all the cards and presents yesterday, my poor boy has got blisters in his eyes today and they are really sore."

The campaign to give Rhys a birthday to remember continues and Ms Williams has also launched a JustGiving page to make her son's dream of going to Disneyland a reality. In only two days, the family has raised £3,360 to make his wish come true.

Cards can be sent to Rhys at 40 Whalley Avenue, Bolton, BL1 5UD and donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tanya-williams-502?utm_term=vDdBRZwre.