HE has proved to be the biggest of inspirations over the past four years.
Since being diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in 2011, Jack Johnson has amazed and humbled everyone with his brave battle against what is a terrible and terminal condition.
His resilience has prompted support from thousands across the UK with Joining Jack set up in his name to find a cure for the illness.
Last year his smile lit up the Wigan 10k and this year, and now he is set to take on another remarkable challenge.
On July 2, he will take on the 3,560ft Mount Snowdon as part of the annual Joining Jack Kiddie Climb.
It’s a task that should be impossible for Jack.
We get such fantastic support from everyone that it does make us feel we are getting closer to our ultimate aim – funding a cureAndy Johnson
Now eight years old, DMD is affecting his muscles so badly that walking up stairs is becoming a struggle and he often uses a wheelchair to move around.
So he will have a few extra pairs of hands to give him that vital push he needs to get to the top.
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.
They will also be joined by rugby union internationals Andy Craig and Tom May and former Wigan and GB stars Mick Cassidy and Steve Hampson
All have played alongside Jack’s dad Andy for the Joining Jack Legends side in Dubai and when he told them of Jack’s plans and the difficulties he would face, they didn’t hesitate to sign up to help.
Another huge support on the day for Jack will come in the form of his best friend; younger brother James, who took part in last year’s event which saw youngsters scale the smaller height of Pen-y-Ghent in Yorkshire.
Andy said: “James decided he wanted to do the KiddieClimb last year just seven days before and we had an unbelievable response.
“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. 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!”
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.
His slow physical deterioration, particularly during the past 18 months, has left him unable to join in more physical activitiesl, but that hasn’t stopped him setting his sights on a larger than life challenge this summer.
The climb is one of Joining Jack’s flagship events throughout the year and will run alongside the annual Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge; both organised by one of the charity’s biggest supporters Rob Medway.
For more information on the Kiddie Climb, email kclimb5050@hotmail.
For information on the Three Peaks Challenge on June 18, email email@example.com.
Those wanting to sponsor Jack should visit www.justgiving.com/JackJohnson2008.