SHEFFIELD mum Harriet Clark will trek 40km and ascend over 5,000ft when she takes on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on 16th September 2023 to raise money for The Children’s Hospital Charity and Cavendish Cancer Care. The two charities have supported her family over the three years that her son Josh, seven, has battled leukaemia.
Josh was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) in June 2020 at just five years old and has just finished a three-year treatment plan involving phases of chemotherapy and high-dose steroids. Josh, who undertook most of his treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, has responded well to the treatment and is now free of cancer.
Along with his brother Finlay, aged nine, Josh will be joining Harriet, dad Ben Collins and other friends and family for a small part of the three peaks route, which takes on the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours.
Harriet, a teacher, said:
“It’s been a very challenging three years for all of us and Josh has, at times, been very unwell. We wouldn’t have got through it without the support of our amazing friends and family and of course the brilliant teams at both Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Cavendish Cancer Care. We wanted a challenge which would be fun and that could raise some much-needed funds for both charities, plus the three peaks represent the ups and downs we’ve encountered over the course of the three years of treatment.”
Josh undertook most of his treatment in the Haematology and Oncology Department at Sheffield Children’s, as well as regular stays on other wards across the hospital.
“Over the last three years Josh has coped exceptionally well with the treatment and for the most part has been able to find a new balance to his life once the first intense six months were completed.
“However, his life has been completely medicalised with daily chemotherapy administered at home, IV chemotherapy given every four weeks, along with a pulse of the dreaded steroids and a 12-weekly procedure to administer chemotherapy into his spinal fluid that has needed a short general anaesthetic.
“His blood levels have been regularly monitored so it has never been more than two weeks that he is away from Sheffield Children’s, and every time he has been unwell or spiked a temperature he has had to be taken in to be checked, to have his port (a surgically implanted access point for IV drugs and blood that is under the skin of his chest) used for bloods with the potential of an admission.
“It has been a long road and one which has come with lots of ups and downs.
“As we are nearing the end of this particular chapter, we wanted to do something positive to mark it and to say thank you to those who have given us support along the way.”
Phoebe Marriot, Events Fundraising Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said:
“We’re so grateful to Harriet and her friends and family for supporting us with this challenge. Completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks is an incredible feat and we’re behind them every step of the way.”
Cavendish Cancer Care was recommended to Harriet and Ben when they felt they needed some extra support for Finlay to help him deal with the pressures of having a serious illness in the family. Both Finlay and Josh accessed play therapy at Cavendish and counselling support was also provided for other family members.
Harriet and her supporters will be undertaking the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on 16th September.