The following article, Quad Amputee, 10, To Scale 656ft Mountain For Charity, was first published on Flag And Cross.
A selfless 10-year-old quad amputee is set to scale a huge 656ft mountain to raise money for other children with disabilities.
Luke Mortimer is “determined” to summit Embsay Crag, in North Yorks., dubbed his ‘Everest’, so he can “return the favor” to charities which have helped him.
The kind-hearted youngster was just seven years old when he contracted the severe bacterial infections meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.
Although he survived the deadly illness, he lost all his limbs and needed 23 painful surgeries over a ten-week period to replace missing skin and address his wounds.
Luke’s family later relocated to a bungalow in Embsay, near Skipton, which was transformed for him by the volunteer group Band of Builders in September.
But ever since the move in 2019, the plucky lad has had ambitions to summit the nearby crag, which he can see from the garden of his rural home.
On Saturday (Nov 4) he’ll attempt the gruelling trek in aid of amputee charity LimbPower and the BBC’s Children in Need – after appearing on its show last year.
Luke said: “I just thought it would be nice to return the favour to Children in Need, which helped me, and LimbPower.
“When we moved here, we were going down the road to Embsay, and I just saw the crag, and I said, ‘Mum, dad, one day can we climb it?’
“It’s been a few years now, but I feel very determined about getting to the top and back down. I think the worst thing that can happen is probably rain.
“And anybody can join! I’d be open to anyone coming. I’m feeling pretty confident about it.”
Luke’s dad, Adam Mortimer, 49, admitted the steep two-mile journey to the top of the summit and back would be a “tough challenge” for his intrepid son.
But he said Luke was intent on reaching the peak under his own steam and would be wearing a set of shortened knee-length prosthetics – called ‘stubbies’ – for the climb.
Adam said: “For Luke, this is a huge thing. It’s above a normal walk for even me, so for Luke, it’s quite a tough challenge. It is kind of his ‘Everest’.
“If you just did it purely on his stride, it’s half of anybody else’s. So it’s almost like if I’m walking a mile, he’s walking two.
“But Luke wants to do it under his own steam. He is fairly determined to get up there and get back on his own.
“It will take as long as it takes. We don’t have a set time because I don’t want to put him under any pressure. It’s just going to be at Luke’s pace, up and back down.”
Luke, previously a keen rugby player for Skipton RFC in North Yorks., was first struck down with meningococcal meningitis on December 13, 2019.
And he was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where doctors found life-threatening septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning, had developed in his body.
Writing at the time of the incident John Firth, a family friend who set up a donation page for him, said his rugby-mad family’s life had been “turned upside down”.
He said: “Luke was a budding 7-year-old rugby player, a bundle of joy who even at a young age had embraced life and every day was a happy day.
“His whole family was part of the rugby community, with his dad coaching many age-grade youngsters and his mum, running a children’s rugby kit recycling stall, so that the young boys and girls, always had the right gear to play and train in.
“However, whilst the rest of us were buying and wrapping presents ready for Christmas, the family’s life was turned upside down.
“Luke’s young life was saved, however, the disease has taken its toll on his little body.
“He has proven he is a fighter, however, his life and the life of his mum, dad and his big brother will never be the same.”
Over the next few years, Luke endured endless sessions of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, while always wearing his trademark beaming smile.
He later learned to walk – and run – on prosthetic legs.
And after receiving £15,000 worth of donations from an army of well-wishers, he also got his first robotic ‘hero’ arm so he could do more for himself.
The Bungalow where Luke now lives was previously adapted for a man who was paralyzed from the waist down.
And volunteer organization Band of Builders later helped his dad Adam fit it with a remarkable range of adaptions, which were unveiled on September 3 this year.
Luke’s challenge will begin from a carpark at Embsay Reservoir at 10am on Saturday, where cakes and refreshments will be sold for charity prior to the ascent.
And Adam welcomed anyone who wanted to take on the challenge with Luke to come along.
He added: “There’s a few people that have said they’ll come along – it’s kind of an open invitation. We’ve done it at his school, we’ve put it online.
“As to how many people will actually come, I don’t know. It could be 100 people, there might just be 10 of us.
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive at BBC Children in Need, wished Luke the best of luck for his fundraising initiative.
He said: “We would like to extend our enormous thanks to Luke for taking on such an inspiring challenge and for choosing BBC Children in Need as one of the charities to benefit from his fundraising.
“We wish him lots of luck for next weekend and cannot wait to see how he gets on.”
Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adam-mortimer-4 to donate.
LimbPower has been contacted for comment.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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