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Baby’s battle spurs Derbyshire fundraisers’ tough climb

Leon Exton-Russell and Mark McGowan.
Leon Exton-Russell and Mark McGowan.

Fundraisers scaled new heights in a bid to help close family friends raise £50,000 for essential treatment and equipment to prolong the life of their nine-month-old son, George.

Leon Exton-Russell, 42, distribution general manager at the Co-op’s Castlewood distribution centre in South Normanton, and Mark McGowan, 40, who works for Aggregate Industries in Hulland Ward, tackled the tough Crib Goch route - a knife-edge ridge leading to the summit of Snowdon, which stands at more than 3,500ft and is the highest point in the British Isles outside of Scotland.

The money raised by the pair – who both live in Allestree - has now exceeded £3,200, taking George’s family over halfway to their £50,000 goal.

Leon said: “We would both like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to friends, family and colleagues at both the Co-op and Aggregate Industries for their support and encouragement - helping us to raise such an amazing amount of money to help George. I am not fond of heights, but I was keen to conquer my own fears and push myself in order to raise as much money as possible.

Baby George, who was born in October 2017, was diagnosed at the start of this year with SMA Type 1 (Spinal Muscular Atrophy).

Leon added: “Sadly, without intervention, most children with SMA Type 1 rarely survive beyond two years of age, and the family are understandably devastated, and doing everything they can to prolong his young life – every donation, no matter how small, could add up to a huge difference.”

Anyone wishing to support the appeal can visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/leon-exton-russell?utm_id=33&utm_term=52gRbb7qr