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A Legless Wing Walk for Katy

Jacqueline Harper

Adventurous, brave and gutsy thalidomide mum Jacqueline Harper (57) from Cumbria, is taking on an exciting new wing walking challenge later this month with her reflexologist daughter, Leanne Adair (36).

They will be placed onto the wings of a plane experiencing zooms and climbs at speeds of up to 130mph and 1500 feet in the air which is dangerous enough on its own, but Jackie will be doing it with no legs!

Despite Jackie’s disability she doesn’t let anything stop her from living life to its fullest and this is by no means her first challenge. Jackie has previously done 2 parachute jumps., crawled 22 miles from Workington to Keswick on her hands, scuba dived, undertaken a gruelling obstacle course and even completed the Great North Run! Jackie has done all of these events to raise money for various charities and this year she has teamed up with her daughter to raise money for The Katy Holmes Trust.

Katy Holmes

The Katy Holmes Trust was set up in 2012 by Paula and David Holmes following the loss of their 10 year old daughter Katy Holmes to a rare and inoperable brain tumour. Katy’s only symptom was to stop smiling but Paula’s instincts alerted her that something was seriously wrong. Two weeks later an MRI revealed that Katy had a brain tumour on her brain stem and had only 6-9 months left to live.

Katy’s parents worked tirelessly to try to save her life sparking a huge media campaign worldwide but after only 3 months Katy sadly died. It was then they discovered that brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 in the UK. Research is woefully underfunded with less than 2% of the national cancer research spending being dedicated to this field. The Katy Holmes Trust was set up to fund paediatric brain tumour research and in the first 4 years invested £1.1M.

L-R: Paula Holmes and Leanne Adair in Vietnam

Leanne is also no stranger to a challenge, having just taken part in the 150 mile Coast to Coast bike ride from West Cumbria to Whitby despite not having ridden a bike for years. Previously Leanne has trekked across Vietnam and done many running challenges including the Great North Run with her mum. Leanne suffered a brain injury years ago which has left her with symptoms that mimic epilepsy including fits, triggered by extreme stress. It is clear to see where Leanne gets her strength and determination from though and together these two incredible ladies are an absolute inspiration and a true example of how not to let anything stop you achieving your goals in life.

Leanne said: “I came across The Katy Holmes Trust online and was deeply touched by the story. I decided to raise money for them by trekking Vietnam and that is how I met Katy’s mother Paula. I signed up to do another trek for them in 2020 which is to trek across the Canadian Rockies.

“To help raise money for the trek I am doing a series of challenges including this wing walk and the Lakes Biggest and Longest Challenge later in the year with a whole team of people. When I looked at the wing walk I knew there was one person who wouldn’t hesitate to do it with me though and that was my mum.”

Jackie, who now lives in Wakefield, said: “I have always tried to do what I can for charity over the years and never allowed my disability to stop me. I have read about Katy’s battle with a brain tumour and I have seen how her family have worked so hard to try to make a difference to save the lives of others. I would love to be a part of making a difference too. When Leanne suggested this wing walk I knew I had to do it. I am actually very excited!”

Katy’s mum, Pride of Britain Finalist and winner of the SHEro Award 2019 said: “I first met Leanne in 2018 and we have become very good friends. She has done so much to raise money for the charity despite her own medical issues and I have been in awe of her dedication and tenaciousness.

“When she told me about her mum and the wing walk I couldn’t believe it! Jackie is an incredible lady to have done so much to help raise money and awareness for others even though she has no legs herself. We can all learn so much from her spirit and determination to thrive and flourish and Leanne is clearly a chip off the old block. I cannot wait to see what happens next! We are so very grateful to them both for choosing to support us and wish them both good luck!”

In 2013/2014, The Katy Holmes Trust invested £85,000 into a research programme at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Nottingham. Since then they have supported the work of The Brain Tumour Charity, in particular, their INSTINCT Project.

To donate to Jackie and Leanne’s Just Giving page please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leanne-adair1

For more information of Leanne’s challenges please visit: http://www.lifechangngchallenges.co.uk

You can find out more about the Katy Holmes Trust by visiting their website at www.katyholmestrust.co.uk.

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