Appeal to help Hitchin teenager Jack achieve Paralympic goal is ‘fantastic success’
PUBLISHED: 18:10 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:10 03 December 2019
An appeal to raise the funds needed to help a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy achieve his dream of competing in the Paralympics has been “a fantastic success”.
Jack Gower, who lives in Stotfold Road in Hitchin, has spastic paraplegic cerebral palsy - a condition which makes his limbs extremely stiff.
Following surgery four years ago, Jack can walk independently, but still relies on a wheelchair for longer distances.
Early last year Jack discovered a love of wheelchair athletics and is now training up to five times a week with Harlow Athletic Club.
His coach is British Paralympic athlete Richard Chiassaro and Jack has his sights firmly set on competing in the Paralympics.
But he has outgrown his current racing chair, so his family launched an appeal to raise the £3,925 to buy a new one.
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Online fundraising has amassed £670 and a quiz night on Saturday - organised by Jack's grandparents Sheila and Mike at Archers Health and Fitness Club in Hitchin - raised £900.
Incredibly, two generous grants presented on the night mean Jack now has enough money to buy his new chair.
Jack's mum Ella said: "We managed to raise an amazing £900 from the quiz and raffle. We were then surprised by two incredible donations and I would very much like to say a public thank you." Hitchin Youth Trust - which supports activities for young people up to the age of 26 - donated £2,000, and Wheels for Martin's Friends, which is based in Royston and has previously supported Jack, pledged the remaining money needed to enable Jack to buy his new chair.
Peter Kelly, the chairman of Hitchin Youth Trust, said: "One of our trustees spotted an article in the Comet [about the appeal]. They were impressed by Jack's determination and fantastic goal of competing in the Paralympics and it was agreed to give £2,000 towards a new racing chair.
"To train at that level for any sport takes a great deal of commitment, but to have the fundraising on top in order to get the right wheelchair is an added pressure we wanted to help with.
"We look forward to following Jack's progress and hope he continues to succeed. We wish him every success."
Jack's grandparents, Sheila and Mike Gower, said the quiz night was "a fantastic success" and "achieved the impossible".
Sheila said: "We were overwhelmed and at times quite emotional."