Peaky Climbers, Funding Izzie’s wheels
Ever wondered what it would be like to climb three of the UK’s peaks in 24 hours? Well let’s catalogue the journey of fifteen inspiring ladies who did just that over the weekend of June 30th – July 1st 2018 and all in aid of one amazing little girl, Isabella Bird.
How it came about?
As the majority of the climbers are members of Black Pear Joggers, it is not uncommon for informal groups to get together and go running. Three such friends, Alison Gleave, Annie Bird and Emma Powell, had gathered one day to run across the Malvern Hills. As they were battling the tough inclines, a previous conversation between Alison and Annie popped into Alison’s head and the inkling of an idea began to form. She recalled how Annie had seen an amazing, lightweight off road buggy that would have been perfect for her daughter, Izzie, remembered how she had looked on and sighed with yearning, wondering how much such a specialist piece of equipment would cost, knowing how beneficial it would be to Izzie’s health. Suddenly, without thinking, Alison blurted out that they should all take on the three peaks challenge. Annie immediately laughed and retorted… “But you hate hills” and Alison smiled smugly to herself, as secretly she had already started to conspire a plan to raise the funds for the buggy.
Born prematurely at 30 weeks, Isabella Anne weighed a mere 3lb 5ozs. Having experienced 6 major placenta bleeds during pregnancy, Izzie needed special neonatal care for 6 weeks post birth. From this point on there were a catalogue of issues which culminated in a diagnosis of microcephaly caused by her brain no longer growing, which in turn lead to her being registered blind due to her brain not connecting with her eyes. Told to prepare for the worse, Steve and Annie had to face another long list of complications as Izzie was subsequently diagnosed with drug resistant epilepsy so debilitating that she experienced multiple daily seizures, constantly being at risk of sudden death syndrome.
Despite all of this, Izzie is a gorgeous and positive little girl who loves to play with her older brother. She is determined, has a strong character and is constantly letting her parents know what she wants, amazing them all the time. She is a miraculous young lady. How much more deserving could a little girl be? Her favourite thing is being outside, feeling the wind and sun on her skin but her current wheelchair is cumbersome and heavy. The buggy would let the family go exploring together. It converts to fit on a bicycle so everybody can go on rides and, having outgrown her seat on the back of the bike, is a great adaptation.
Having hatched her plan, Alison recruited a number of additional willing victims and the campaign began, mostly in secret so Annie could not become overwhelmed by everybody’s generosity or argue and convince people otherwise. Training climbs were organised by Claire Shacklock and Alison and Lynda Broadway and partner Mike set up a series of training walks across the Malverns over several Wednesday evenings to ensure the ladies were all prepared.
The journey in pictures
The rest is best and most realistically depicted in pictures, including the pre-challenge prep, journey, the climbs and post challenge celebrations.
Ready for set off
At the top
Sponsors and ‘thank you’s
There will have been lots of personal reasons for completing this challenge but probably most importantly, the team wanted to thank all of those without whom the event would not have been possible.
- John Deeley and his company Vale Vehicle Movements for providing all the fuel
- The incredible support crew and participants
- All the amazing donations from everybody
- The UNBELIEVABLE generosity of an anonymous donor of £1,440.00 to take the total to £5000 and thus secure the buggy
- Mick Kennish-Ward for his Jogle sponsorship, Tracy Kennish-Ward for her birthday contribution and Mick & Tracy for their anniversary donations, not to mention the promotion and general support and sharing.
- Stuart Leng
- Lynda Broadway and Mike
- All the BPJ’s who donated prizes
- Dave Shacklock
- Mark Dillon
- Steve Bradley – a special shout out to Steve who was not supporting family and secured special holiday in order to assist and drive.
- Darren McKay
- Grace Perks
- Lee Porter
Last but by no means least…the Participants:
|Alison Gleave||Donna Rushton|
|Annie Bird||Sophie Martin|
|Claire Shacklock||Jenni Morris|
|Mandie McKay||Emma Powell|
|Jo Walker||Katy Swatton|
|Cat Kelly||Jenny Astridge|
|Sue Dillon||Bec Terry|
Other activities that raised much needed funds
- 5k race – supported by Nicki Allen and Lee Brighton
- Table top sale – organised by Claire
- Curry night – organised by Claire
This image says it all. This was Izzie’s first outing and she just kept shouting ‘more, more’ as Annie was obviously not running fast enough. Due to the generosity of SO many people, more than the buggy amount was raised in the end. The additional funds will be put to excellent use. A specialist video monitoring system that activates when Izzie has a seizure will be installed and a purpose built indoor swing so she can enjoy the pleasures of play.
Finally Steve and Annie want to express their heartfelt gratitude to two people in particular for the major part played in this journey. They will be eternally grateful to Alison Gleave and Claire Shacklock for their massive contribution and incredible friendship. You have made the impossible possible and the dreams of a little girl come true.