A MUM whose four-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer has organised a 10-hour fitness bootcamp to raise money for the charity which has supported him during his gruelling treatment.
Jenny Vernon’s son Sam was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in February 2010 and is undergoing chemotherapy.
Sheffield-based charity Amy’s Retreat organises holidays for children with cancer and their families, offering them a break during the most difficult of times.
Jenny, aged 35, of Worrall Road, Wadsley, said: “It’s obviously a terrifying time when your child is diagnosed with such a serious illness, and we focused all our energy on getting Sam through the treatment.
“I certainly wasn’t thinking about holidays, but the hospital told me about Amy’s Retreat, and before I knew it they had arranged for us to go to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest for a break.”
The charity works to arrange the holidays around each child’s care plan, and the Vernons’ holiday was organised to take place during a one week break in an intense period of Sam’s treatment.
Jenny said: “Nothing was too much trouble for them and I can’t explain how much Sam, my husband Richard and I needed some time away as a family by this point.
“We had spent the majority of our time in hospital over the previous months, and it made the world of difference to us during a horrific time.
“Now I want to help them to help other people who find themselves in the same position.”
Jenny came up with her unique fundraising idea after she started training with friends at BEST bootcamp five months ago, which improved her fitness and helped her to manage her stress levels.
The Fitness Bootcamp event will involve three teams of 30 people competing over three different courses – a military-style assault course, a fun course, and a team event.
Jenny is not only looking for sponsorship but hopes more people will sign up to take part on the day and raise sponsorship money of their own.
There will also be a range of activities for those not taking part, including fairground rides, a bouncy castle, fire engines, dancers, face painting and a raffle and auction. The evening will end with a disco and prize presentation.
Gabrielle Latham, who runs Amy’s Retreat, said: “We are delighted that Jenny and her family benefited so much from the holiday we organised, and hope to send many more children affected by cancer away with their families in the future.
“It is the support of people like Jenny that makes this possible.”
The Fitness Bootcamp takes place on Saturday, September 3, at Hillsborough Arena.
n Visit www.justgiving.com/BootcampMarathon to sponsor Jenny or to sign up for the event.