Children with Down’s Syndrome raise money for their own therapy

By Lizzie May

A group of children with Down’s Syndrome are edging closer to their fundraising challenge to walk, run, cycle or swim 300 miles collectively.

The determined youngsters have travelled more than 246 miles so far and raised more than £34,000 in the process.

The 15 children, aged from two to nine years-old, have fundraised for their own therapy after a loss of donations coming into charity Down’s South London due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Down’s South London, based in Peckham, have found this way of replacing more than £50,000 of lost income this year due to the pandemic.

New Covid-19 restrictions which saw the country go into lockdown this week still allow for exercise outdoors, which means the group can continue to reach their goal in time.

Stacey McDermott, mother of two-year-old Olive James, said: “Since starting this challenge, it’s like something has clicked and she is really motivated to walk.

“We are seeing improvement every day – we are over the moon with how well she is doing.”

This physical challenge is particularly demanding as children with Down’s Syndrome typically have low muscle tone, meaning it has taken them longer to learn to walk.

Gün Akyuz, chairman of Down’s South London said: “We know how important DSL’s therapy services are to our families, and to lose it would be a massive blow.

“They are literally leading the way with this fundraising challenge. I’m simply amazed by what they’ve already achieved.

“Not only does it demonstrate how passionate they are about their therapy but also their determination to ensure it’ll be there for them next year and new families in the future.”

Since it began on Saturday, October 17, the children have collectively walked 246 miles towards their hometown, Peckham.

The 300mile challenge covers the equivalent of Land’s End to Peckham by November 16.

The South London charity is run by parents and offers specialist early intervention therapy for babies and young children with Down’s Syndrome and a local support network for their families.

Pictured top: The children with Down’s Syndrome on the challenge


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