Bolton-le-Sands mum’s London Marathon bid for Make A Wish

Joanna Jennings, from Bolton-le-Sands, will take on the London Marathon for Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Joanna Jennings, from Bolton-le-Sands, will take on the London Marathon for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A mum will take on her first London Marathon challenge to help support critically ill children.

Joanna Jennings, from Bolton-le-Sands, will join a team of 300 at the weekend for the 37th Virgin Money London Marathon.

The 41-year-old will be part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation team who are hoping to raise £150,000 altogether.

“It is my first marathon, it is going to be a big challenge for me, and probably a very emotional day,” said Joanna, a mum-of-two boys.

Joanna has a special place in her heart for Make-A-Wish Foundation, who arrange experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Her nephew Jack was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome at the age of two – a type of epilepsy with seizures that are often triggered by hot temperatures or fever.

Jack, who is now 11, also has severe autism.

“He is the most delightful boy in the world and means the absolute world to me,” said Joanna.

“When Jack started having seizures at just a few months old I felt helpless.

“I suffered a second miscarriage a couple of months before and was suffering with severe depression. However, Jack saved my life and eventually mended my very broken heart.”

Joanna fell pregnant five years after Jack was born and went on to have Harry, six and Tom, five.

Due to his condition Jack has limited communication as he does not speak and understands very little. He also uses a wheelchair and still has regular seizures.

Make A Wish enabled the family to have a dream holiday, culminating in Jack swimming with dolphins in Florida. Joanna wanted to give something back to the charity who had given the family precious memories and hope.

“I sometimes panic and feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew but then I only need to take one look at Jack, or have a conversation with my sister to know I can do this,” said Joanna.

“So with Jack in my mind and determination in my heart I will cross that finish line with the biggest smile.” Joanna’s sister Catherine, Jack’s mum, will also be part of the team at the London Marathon.