Earls Barton family to take on national superhero challenge as part of £50,000 fundraising goal for son's surgery

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Jack, who has cerebral palsy, his siblings, one of whom has the same condition, and their parents are getting involved in the Marvel Find Your Power Challenge

A seven-year-old boy from Northamptonshire with cerebral palsy and his family will be tackling three long walks as part of a national superhero challenge.

Jack Smith his siblings and parents are getting involved in the Marvel Find Your Power Challenge between May 29 and June 5, as they aim to raise £50,000 for surgery to give him more movement.

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The Earls Barton family, including Jack's brother Ben, 12, who also has cerebral palsy but much more movement, will walk around Brighton, where his mother is from, Corby, as his father is from there, and their home village.

Jack Smith, seven, from Earls BartonJack Smith, seven, from Earls Barton
Jack Smith, seven, from Earls Barton

They have been fundraising since February for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) surgery, which is not funded by the NHS for children with Jack's level of cerebral palsy.

Mum, Claire Lawrence, said: “Like any parents, we want to do the best for our children. We believe that SDR surgery will give Jack the best chance of achieving his full potential.”

Jack was born at 30 weeks and is now a full-time wheelchair user as he has spasticity in his legs which causes him a lot of discomfort.

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The Earls Barton lad's hips have dislocated three times, leaving him needing two surgeries and around six months in a brace, and he also has epilepsy.

Despite his pain, Jack’s family say he is a ‘happy, determined boy’ who loves singing and game shows, and dreams of being able to bounce upright on a bouncy castle, instead of lying down.

The family have already raised over £35,000 with events include an online ‘Spin to Win’ event in honour of Jack’s love of quiz shows, an online jumble sale, while friends have contributed by selling cheesecakes, dreamcatchers and more.

The Marvel Find Your Power Challenge is a countrywide disability sports event which encourages people to set their own challenges and complete them however they want, when they want.

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The event is usually a mass participation event taking place at Dorney Lake in Windsor but is continuing its ‘at home’ theme for a second year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The family is supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope who is also a named charity partner of the Marvel Superhero Series for a third year running.

The charity helps families fundraise for children like Jack with healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.

Chief executive Gill Gibb said: "We are delighted to be supporting Jack and his family in their fundraising and wish them all the best in their continued fundraising."

To donate to Jack’s fund, visit treeofhope.org.uk/jack-smith-jacks-sdr-journey. The family is also always grateful for any items suitable for an online auction.