Trio take on Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge
This November, three young people, who are all living with serious illnesses and conditions, will take on a huge 37-mile trek on inclined treadmills, to replicate the height of Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise vital funds for Rays of Sunshine. Hannah Phillips, 25, from Lewisham, Olivia Bradburn, 15, from Teddington, and Joe Lunn, 18, from Mitcham, have all had their greatest wishes granted by the charity and are aiming to raise at least £7,000 for the challenge, as a part of the charity’s ‘Rays and Shine’ fundraising initiative.
Hannah was born prematurely and at less than a year old, was diagnosed with an incurable heart disease called Complicated Ebstein’s Anomaly. She underwent an open-heart surgery at age nine, has had seven surgeries since, including a pacemaker implantation and has spent a significant amount of time going in and out hospital. Rays of Sunshine granted Hannah’s greatest wish to meet Jessie J in 2014.
Joe is currently battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer; Metastatic Synovial Sarcoma and had surgery in December 2019 to remove all the tumours. Earlier this year, Joe took on a 100-mile cycle challenge and has decided to push himself to take on this second challenge whilst undergoing a gruelling round of treatment. Rays of Sunshine granted his greatest wish to meet his sporting idol, Rory McIlroy last year.
Olivia was born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia and had a liver transplant at just seven months old. Since then, she has undergone several major surgeries and still endures many health complications. In 2014, Rays of Sunshine granted Olivia’s wish to meet Winter the Dolphin in Florida.
Commenting on their inspiration for the challenge, the climbing trio said:
The three of us know the true value of a wish and our focus during this huge, but exciting, challenge will be to raise as much money as we can so that other children can experience the same happiness & special memories that Rays of Sunshine has given us.
Jane Sharpe, Trustee of Rays of Sunshine, added:
These three are a true inspiration. Between them they have endured the most gruelling of experiences, from undergoing surgery for organ transplants, multiple open heart surgeries and intensive chemotherapy, yet in spite of all of this, they are the most positive and determined group of young people. We cannot be more grateful to each of them for their unwavering support of Rays of Sunshine, especially during such unprecedented times. We have no doubt that they will reach their target and we’re excited to cheer them on every step of the way on their climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!
To donate to Hannah, Joe and Olivia’s challenge and support their challenge, visit their JustGiving page here.