A Notts worker is undertaking a ten-day long trek in Cambodia to raise money for a charity in memory of his son, who passed away from a rare disease.
Shaun Patrick’s son, Jack, was 20 when he passed away in 2015 with Goodpasture Syndrome, a disease which can lead to internal bleeding in the lungs and often results in kidney failure.
Despite Jack’s death, which turned their lives “upside down”, Shaun, who works for Notts Sport, and his family and friends were determined to create Jack a legacy.
“Our volunteering started when Jack’s friend cycled to the 20 premier league grounds around the country in his memory, which inspired us to start our own challenges.” Shaun said.
Over the years, Shaun’s family and friends have taken on a number of challenges, to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes, of which Jack was a “massive supporter”.
So far their ventures, which include a skydive and two charity cricket matches, have seen them raise more than £50,000 in Jack’s memory- but Shaun is keen to do more.
“I’d never actually taken on a challenge for Jack myself, and when Help for Heroes contacted me about their Cambodia trek, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to get fit- or fitter,” he said.
The 60-mile trek, which takes place in Siem Reap in the north of Cambodia, includes a visit to 12th century Angkor Wat, camping near village pagodas, and trekking through paddy fields, dense forests and villages.
Shaun set a target of £10,000 for donations, and initially didn’t think he would get close to meeting it.
But the donations poured in, with one anonymous source contributing a generous £1,000 on Shaun’s charity JustGiving page.
“Now it looks like I’ll surpass my target, which is amazing.” Shaun said.
Shaun, aged 56, will be leaving for the trek with his wife Emma in just under two weeks. He said: “I’m very nervous. It’s been labelled a ‘severe’ challenge because of the weather conditions- it’s currently 35 degrees out there.”
Shaun, his wife, and his family friends have been taking part in training walks as preparation for the challenge, and he is hopeful that their fitness levels will cope with the heat and humidity in South East Asia.
He said: “I just want to be a force for good and help those in need, and friends and family have been fantastic and fundraised tirelessly for what is a great cause.
“Jack would be very proud of everyone, and we will continue to raise money for brave Servicemen and women in our Armed Forces who require our assistance.”
Shaun said Jack, or Jacko as he was known, was a larger than life character and the best friend and son anyone could have.
He said: “He loved life and always felt a sense of compassion and empathy when seeing people in less fortunate circumstances.
“Jack would be very proud of everyone, and we will continue to raise money for brave Servicemen and women in our Armed Forces who require our assistance.
“He regularly supported Help for Heroes and wore his wristband with pride; that’s why we decided to make it our charity. I suppose it our way of carrying on his memory.”
Dean Williams, Help for Heroes Regional Manager for the Midlands, said Shaun had gone the extra mile for the Charity despite his family’s own personal trauma.
He added: “Time and time again, Shaun, Emma and family have strenuously fundraised and held events in aid of our wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel.
“They are a fabulous example of what can be done, and I wish them all the best on their Cambodian adventure.”
Rare Disease Day 2018 takes place on 28th February, 2018.
There are still over 6,000 rare diseases, and an estimated 30 million people living with a rare disease in Europe and 300 million worldwide, but no cures and few treatments available for the majority of these diseases.
Rare Disease Day offers participants the opportunity to be part of a global call on policy makers, researchers, companies and healthcare professionals to increasingly and more effectively involve patients in rare disease research.