Hitchin teenager Jack appeals for help in achieving Paralympic dream
PUBLISHED: 17:42 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 22:13 12 November 2019
An ambitious 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is appealing for help in achieving his dream of competing in the Paralympics.
Jack Gower, who lives in Stotfold Road in Hitchin, has spastic paraplegic cerebral palsy - a condition which makes his limbs extremely stiff.
Following surgery at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital 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 began training once a week at Ridlins in Stevenage, becoming a member of the Stevenage and North Herts Athletics Club, and has subsequently transferred to Harlow Athletic Club for increased training opportunities.
This year he achieved second place in the Mini London Wheelchair Marathon's under 14 boys' category.
He now has his sights firmly set on competing in the Paralympics and is being coached by British Paralympic athlete Richard Chiassaro.
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But he is rapidly outgrowing his current racing chair and is asking for help in raising the £3,925 needed to buy a new one.
Jack said: "When I started racing, I wasn't very good, but I trained hard and have gradually got stronger and quicker. I train four to five times a week and compete as often as I can.
"I was lucky enough to get my own racing chair, which made such a difference to my technique and allowed me to improve further. Unfortunately, though, due to a rapid growth spurt I only have three to six months until I will no longer fit in my chair.
"Without a chair, I will not be able to continue my training or compete.
"I know a lot of have you will have previously sponsored me - and for that I will be eternally grateful - but if anyone has any spare pennies to help me get a new set of wheels so I can carry on training and attempt to reach my ultimate goal of competing for GB at the Paralympic, I would be so grateful."
Jack's proud grandparents, Sheila and Mike, are getting behind the Keep Jack on Track campaign and have organised a fundraising quiz at Archers Health and Fitness Club in Hitchin's Fishponds Street from 7pm on Saturday, November 30.
Tickets are £10 in advance or £12 on the night and include food and drink. Call 01462 456344 or pop into Archers gym.
To make a donation, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/winterracer