Northampton dad takes on 100km trek to help raise £60k for son's life-changing operation

Gareth is planning to trek 100km in a fundraising effort to raise thousands of pounds for his son's life-changing surgery.
Gareth is planning to trek 100km in a fundraising effort to raise thousands of pounds for his son's life-changing surgery.

A Northampton man is in training for a mammoth ultramarathon in a bid to get his son with cerebral palsy to America for an operation that will help him stand and walk.

Reception pupil Harry Restall, 5, of Duston, was diagnosed with diplegia cerebral palsy when he was a baby and his only hope of walking and living a more independent life is undergoing Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery and physiotherapy in the USA, which is not funded by the NHS.

In a fundraising effort to raise £60,000 for Harry's life-changing surgery his dad Gareth - along with his colleagues Paul Chadwick, Paul Baxter and Tony Anderson - is taking on a 100km ultramarathon, which follows the Ridgeway trail through the Chilterns to the North Wessex Downs.

The teams' fundraising target for this mission is £3,000 and so far, £2,100 has been raised, with Gareth's place of work, CBRE pledging to double £3,000 if the four reach their target.

Harry's mum Jenny Restall said: "Gareth would appreciate donations to this great cause as it would simply make Harry’s dreams come true - to walk in the leaves, crunch around in the snow, to play with his friends like a little boy should do and not be confined to a wheelchair, which he resents.

"To make his lifestyle, happy, pain-free, carefree, independent and dignified.

"Gareth’s training regime has been ongoing for approximately six weeks - he has been training on the treadmill, going on local runs and generally chasing around after his three lively children!

"The 100km trek is going to be difficult but not half as difficult as hearing your child cry in frustration about his disability. Gareth would walk to the moon without hesitation if it meant we could secure this life-changing operation for Harry."

Born prematurely, East Hunsbury Primary School pupil Harry had bowel surgery at one-day-old and fought off countless sepsis infections while he was in the neonatal intensive care unit, which has left him with brain damage.

Harry is currently having regular physiotherapy at Footsteps in Oxfordshire, but after his mum took time off to become his full-time carer, crowdfunding has become the family's only option to help Harry use his legs.

Unfortunately, this operation is not funded on the NHS nor is the intensive physiotherapy that Harry attends at Footsteps in Oxfordshire, which assists with Harry’s rehabilitation. If his family succeeded in achieving their fundraising goal, Harry would go to America to receive this pioneering surgery.

Gareth and his colleagues will be taking on the two-day challenge between the 24th and 25th March - where the team are going to camp overnight at the midway point of their journey in West Ginge in Oxfordshire.

To help donate to Harry's cause, donate money here: or to his dad's page at