In June, a team from St Andrew’s and St Bartholomew’s Church, Churchdown, took on the national Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) in 24 hours. The inspiration for this event was to raise awareness and funds for three young superheroes from the church family.
Chantal Whitehouse, who is mum to both Harrison, who took part in the challenge, and Jenson, one of the young superheroes, tells us more about them:
“Our superhero Jenson was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy on his first birthday, which was a complete shock to me and my husband and his three older siblings. It is a life-limiting, degenerative muscle-wasting condition with no cure. He will lose his mobility and the ability to even hug, and will require ventilation and daily drugs to stabilise his heart, as that is a muscle too. He is a very cheeky and happy little man who loves life so much and he has no idea about his diagnosis.
“His older brother, Harrison, wanted to be part of the Three Peaks team, to help raise money for Jenson and two other superheroes in our church family. When Harrison arrived back in Churchdown straight after the challenge, he was so uplifted by the whole experience and wanted to plan the next adventure.”
Harrison shared updates with followers on the Jenson’s Journey Facebook page, which they set up to mark his journey through this illness. He said: “Wow, what an adventure, what a challenge and what a cause. Absolutely adore this team. We crushed every mountain with a smile on our faces.”
Chantal also shares the stories of Joshua and Malachi, the other two children who money is being raised for: “Joshua was born beautifully healthy on his due date and hit all his milestones, walking on his first birthday, learning to write his name and ride his bike. At four years old, he started to lose his sight. Three years later, following years of investigations and living in limbo the family received the devastating diagnosis of terminal CLN6-Batten disease, a form of childhood dementia which has robbed him of all these skills and also taken his speech and mobility. His life is a battle every day.
“At six weeks old, Malachi had a chest infection which led to sepsis and as a result suffered a brain injury, where not enough blood and oxygen reached his brain. He was very ill, stopped breathing several times and the prognosis was grim. Fast forward eight years and Malachi’s mum says he’s ‘a right livewire with a cheeky sense of humour and an adventurous spirit’. The brain injury has left Malachi with various conditions including epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy and severe sight impairment, meaning he is registered blind. He has a tummy tube for meds and liquids, as he cannot take them orally. He uses a wheelchair full-time and needs 24-hour care as he can’t do anything on his own.”
All three families strive to make the most of every day.
“Each of the superheroes are such a delight and very determined despite their difficulties.”
An amazing £5,380 was raised from this challenge to help the families. Chantal explained that the Three Peaks team were amazing to raise this incredible sum of money and the families were all very grateful for every step they made and to those who donated. She also acknowledged the wonderful drivers who ensured the team got to each peak safely and in good time, especially for driving through the night.
You can view and donate to the GoFundMe page here: Fundraiser by Harry Bennett: Three Peaks for Three Superheroes (gofundme.com)
You can read more about Jenson’s Journey here: https://www.facebook.com/Jensons-Journey-804345566258409
You can read more about Malachi’s story here: https://www.facebook.com/MightyMalachi/?ref=page_internal