One mum has planned an epic adventure to raise support for a Surrey-based charity that is trying to cure her son’s life limiting illness.
On Saturday 3 June, thirty-seven-year-old Shelley Simmonds, from Billericay, Essex, will be scaling Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. If that wasn’t tricky enough, she’ll be completing the climb with a very close companion – her four-year-old son, Fraser, in a backpack.
In 2014, little Fraser was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic condition which affects all the muscles in the body, causing them to waste away. Shelley is taking on the challenge to help raise awareness and money for Harrison’s Fund, a charity that funds research into her son’s illness.
Harrison’s Fund is named after ten-year-old Harrison Smith from Surrey who was also diagnosed with the condition. Harrison’s parents, Alex and Donna Smith, set up the charity in 2011. It currently funds 12 research projects in the US and the UK.
One in 3,500 boys are born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the United Kingdom each year. The average lifespan is just mid-twenties and the condition is 100% fatal.
Shelley said: “After Fraser’s diagnosis there was a sheer feeling of numbness and panic for the future. We walked out of that hospital a completely different family to the one that walked in but life must go on and I am determined to be part of the change of landscape for these boys like Fraser who suffer from Duchenne.”
Joining Shelley and Fraser on Snowdon are close friends Gemma Spicer, 36, from Worthing and Jamie Moore, 36, from Hove.
Fraser, who Shelley describes as the “happiest boy you could ever wish to meet”, was also the inspiration behind the group’s hike.
“He drew a mountain in a picture at nursery and it got me thinking,” Shelley said, “and then seeing him try out a power wheel chair made me determined to do something he will never be able to do.”
Alex Smith, Founder of Harrison’s Fund commented: “I first met Shelley when her son Fraser was diagnosed with Duchenne and we had a long conversation on the phone talking about the diagnosis parent to parent.
“She is one of the most passionate campaigners and advocates for Fraser as well as the wider Duchenne community, never shy to ask a difficult question and never opposed to taking on a challenge. We are all very lucky to have her in the Harrison’s Fund family and grateful to her, for taking on this feat for us.”
To support Shelley and Fraser please visit www.justgiving.com/frasersimmonds
To find follow their adventure visit www.facebook.com/pg/fraserandfriends