6 year old Harry Byrne, from Larkhill in Wiltshire, spent his weekend walking 45 miles, raising thousands of pounds for Naomi House & Jacksplace and Julia’s House hospices.
Harry Byrne can most definitely be described as a superhero! Any other 6 year old, and indeed most adults, would think that walking 45 miles is a very long way! But not Harry. With oodles of energy, a determined spirit and armed with flapjacks, fruit and his ultimate favourite – chocolate, Harry, along with his dad, Sean, completed the challenge over three days, starting on Friday 22nd January. Harry’s original plan was to walk the 45 miles between the two hospices that care for his little brother, Reuben – Naomi House & Jacksplace in Hampshire and Julia’s House in Dorset, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions, he changed his plans to walking the same distance but in 5 mile loops, three times a day for three days.
They experienced every type of weather, but Harry’s favourite was definitely the snow, which made him run, jump and skip as he crushed ice puddles and made snow angels on his travels, ending his challenge with snow ball fights and building a snowman with his family!
Harry expressed his desire to help raise vital funds and awareness for the charities that help his baby brother, Reuben. Harry set himself the target of raising £1,500, but has smashed the target by so far raising over £10,000 including Gift Aid! The donations will be split equally between the two hospices.
Reuben has an extremely rare genetic condition which is life limiting, with only 17 other cases world-wide, one of which was Harry and Reuben’s sister, Olivia, who died eight years ago when she was eight months old. Babies with this condition generally pass away in their first year of life. We were told it would be unlikely for Reuben to reach his first birthday, but he did and what a memorable day it was! Reuben spent the first eight weeks of his life in hospital and we've been in contact with Naomi House & Jacksplace ever since.
45 miles is a very ambitious distance for someone so young and we asked Sophie how Harry was able to take on this challenge.
We're an extremely outdoorsy family. Harry plays football for Durrington Football Club, as well as Taekwondo and swimming club. He will often ask to walk to football club, instead of taking the car – a seven mile round trip, and that's after he's played football for one and a half hours, walked to the river to feed the ducks and played at the park! He will then come home and play in the garden all afternoon. He's an energetic bundle of joy – come rain or shine, we're always outside. He is used to doing 20 mile bike rides and 10 mile walks!
We're both extremely proud of Harry, it truly fills our hearts with joy that he wants to help raise money for such worthy causes. For Harry wanting to give back and help the charities that help Reuben, we're bursting with pride that it's had such a positive influence on him. We're extremely grateful to the hospices for enabling us to create memories as a family together. Often after a fun day, we didn't know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun!
Peter Abrahams, our Head of Supporter Services at Naomi House & Jacksplace, has a message for Harry:
What an incredible young man you are – thank you so much superhero Harry for being an inspiration to us all and taking on this brilliant challenge to help local life limited and life threated children, young adults and families.
To visit Harry's JustGiving page click here