Jack joins the Legends to climb Mount Snowdon
ANDY and Alex Johnson would move mountains to help their son Jack – thankfully they’ve got a bit of extra muscle to tackle the latest giant task facing the have-a-go eight-year-old.
The family has been facing a race against time for the past four and half years after Jack was diagnosed with the incurable muscle-wasting disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). His slow physical deterioration, particularly during the past 18 months, has left him unable to join in more physical activities with his friends at school, but that hasn’t stopped Jack setting his sights on a larger than life challenge this summer.
Alongside his little brother James, four, he's planning to scale the 3,560 feet height of Mount Snowdon in north Wales on July 2. But after starting to use his first wheelchair for more demanding distances in the summer, he might need a little help.
Step forward the Joining Jack legends, former professionals of both rugby codes including two-time Man of Steel winner Paul Sculthorpe, Wigan legend Kris Radlinksi and former Sale Sharks and England rugby union star Mark Cueto. All have played alongside Andy for the Joining Jack Legends side in Dubai and when he told them of Jack's daring plans and the difficulties he would face, they didn't hesitate to sign up to help.
They will be joined by rugby union internationals Andy Craig and Tom May and rugby league tough nuts and former Wigan and GB stars Mick Cassidy and Steve Hampson (all members of the 2015 JJ Legends squad). With that line up, the mountain almost doesn’t look quite as high for Jack.
The climb is just one of Joining Jack’s flagship events throughout the year and alongside a Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge, forms one half of a two-stage fundraiser organised by the one of the charity’s biggest supporters Rob Medway. Last year he took 140 children up Pen-Y-Ghent (70 for Joining Jack and 70 for a second children’s charity Rose Blossom Trust) a group which included Jack’s little brother James, then aged three.
Andy said: “James decided he wanted to do the KiddieClimb last year just seven days before and we had an unbelievable response from supporters. We set up a Just Giving Page and posted a home video of the boys on Facebook and the money just kept coming in. James wants to do it again this year so of course Jack has been desperate to join him. He was so determined but we weren’t sure how we were going to make it happen.
“When I mentioned it to the lads they didn’t hesitate and said they would help however they could. Alex and I were blown away, although we weren’t surprised. We get such fantastic support from everyone that it does make us feel we are getting closer to our ultimate aim – funding a cure. Now all we have to do is work out the shift system to get Jack to the top!”
You can follow Jack and the legends progress along with all our other fantastic adventurers on this year's KiddieClimb on Sunday, July 2, on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JoiningJack/?ref=hl. If you would like to support Jack's climb we have set up a Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/JackJohnson2008/