A FAMILY is tackling a team walking challenge to raise funds for a cause close to its heart.
Two of Jo and Neil Jones’ three children have been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus.
The condition requires daily treatment and is life-limiting.
Zachary, one, was diagnosed with the condition when he was just five weeks old. Tests on his sister Imogen, who turns six tomorrow, revealed she also had the condition, which dealt the family a devastating blow. Archie, three, was given the all clear.
Jo, 32, of The Avenue, Goring, said: “It’s turned our world upside down. Now it’s just the norm but it took a while to sink in and to get used to.
“We were quite clueless. We just ambled through the first ten months. We did everything we were meant to but I think we were on autopilot.
“It wasn’t until Christmas last year that it really sunk in and Zac had to go to hospital for antibiotics. It’s part of daily life now, we don’t even think about it.”
Jo, her dad Chris, her aunt and uncle Tricia and Paul, and friends Jay and Sweta have formed Team ZINC (Zac and Imogen Need a Cure) and will take on Great Strides 65 – a 65km team walking challenge through the Surrey countryside on June 6.
Neil will be taking on the children’s treatment regime while Jo is training for the challenge and Jo’s stepmum Nikki and stepsister Lauren will be in the support car on the day of the challenge.
“Zachary is now a year old” said Jo.
“We have reached a stage where we want to raise as many funds and as much awareness as possible for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust which has made such amazing progress in the 50 years since it was established.
“When we came across the Great Strides 65 fundraising challenge, I realised that I could put my interest in trekking to good use. Members of the family jumped on board with the idea straight away and Team ZINC was quickly formed.”
Having two children with the condition presents extra challenges for the Jones family.
According to www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk, people with the condition should not socialise because they can carry different bacteria which could be harmful to others with Cystic Fibrosis.
Jo said: “All you can do is be extra vigilant with hygiene and do physio in separate rooms. They can’t share a bedroom. It does make it quite tough because they can’t not live together. You just deal with it the best you can really.”
Each team has to raise a minimum of £1,000 sponsorship. Jo and her team have set themselves the goal of reaching £1,500.
To make a contribution, visit www.justgiving.com/Joanne-Jones29