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All of us, bar two, work together at Anton Junior School in Andover, Hampshire. Last year a brilliant young lad joined our school in Year 4 and he has become super popular with many of the children and staff.
This young chap has duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a condition that results in significant muscle wasting and deterioration throughout the body. Those who have worked with this boy over the past year have been saddened to see how in September he was able to get out of his wheelchair and join in with his classmates, in some way, with a game of football (he is a huge Manchester United fan!). However, towards the end of the year he became more dependant on his wheelchair for fear of being knocked over or falling more easily due to his accelerating condition. Despite the difficulty of this year, we have all been inspired by the way that this lad copes with his condition; his ability to judge what he is able to do himself and enthusiastically participate to that degree is astounding. He has developed confidence through the year which has helped him to make more and more friends and he is now a vital member of his class.
What has helped this boy to become more comfortable and confident with the obvious reality that he will soon be completely wheelchair-bound, is that he has discovered a sport called powerchair football, which he absolutely loves and is amazingly good at! The sport involves using an electronic sports wheelchair with a front bumper to guide a large football across a space. Day to day, he currently uses a manual wheelchair that is both too small and too basic to support his increasing needs; the sorts of chairs he uses when practising for his sport are exactly what he needs. He has trialled a few different electric wheelchairs but because he wants to go for something which will not only improve his independence enormously but that he can also use for his sport these sorts of wheelchairs are hugely expensive and his family, as most would be, are concerned about raising the funds as quickly as he needs.
And that's where our challenge comes in! We thought that if a large group of staff from our school could complete the 3 peaks challenge then we could donate a big chunk of the money that needs to be raised to this fantastic boy and his family in order for him to get his new wheels soon, and improve his quality of life massively.
This challenge took place on Saturday, 20 October, 2012.
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The National Three Peaks Challenge takes in the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales, often in 24 hours.