PICTURES: Disabled teen climbs Ben Nevis in 18 hours
A disabled Isle teen completed a mountainous challenge this month scaling the heady heights of Ben Nevis.
The 4,411 feet ascent and descent took a total of 18 hours of sheer pain in an ever-changing climate of sun, rain and hail.
Challenging enough one would think, but even more so for Belton 18-year-old Jack Marshall who completed this mammoth achievement despite suffering from Moebius Syndrome - which means he is unable to walk unassisted, has difficulty with hearing and sight, and is unable to smile.
This isn’t the first huge undertaking for Jack, who lives with the mindset “failure is not an option”, he has previously completed the Great North and Great Manchester Junior runs on several occasions as well as climbing Yorkshire’s Three Peaks and Snowdon.
Jack tackled the Scottish peak with help from his best friend Chris Chittell - best known for his role in ITV soap opera Emmerdale in which he plays the character Eric Pollard, his sister Jaimie, supporter Mark Cannan and volunteers from the Adventure for Heroes charity.
Mark told the Bells: “Where do I start? I can honestly say that I am speechless. We left our tents and started the climb at 6.45am. All spirits were high.
“This challenge is one that will stay with me for life. The going was horrendous, but, with the help of everyone who volunteered, including four amazing children (Ellis, Sam, Nathan and Liam) Jack was in very safe hands. I cannot thank everyone who helped enough.
“We reached the summit of Ben Nevis at 4.18pm, a total of nine hours. We had every weather known to man from sun, rain and hail. From the start Jack was hurting but that young man never stopped. It was emotional to see but also so inspiring as defeat was not an option.
“The hard part was still to come, the descent. It was clear at the summit that people were starting to feel the effect of the sub zero temperatures so it was vital we kept moving.”
He continued: “We finished the challenge at 1am. A total of 18 hours of sheer pain. If we, the volunteers, were hurting, god knows what Jack was feeling. The last four hours was in the pitch dark and with the ground being horrendously rocky, it was a priority that we took it slow.
“I will forever be in the debt of everyone who came to help Jack, without you Jack wouldn’t be able to now say that he has conquered Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the UK.”
Mark said to Jack: “It was very emotional seeing you in pain and not being able to help take that pain away, it was even more emotional seeing you reach the peak. You are an absolute awesome human being Jack and I know that you are proud of this latest achievement. It has been an honour to help.”
Jack said: “It was a very long day but some parts were very enjoyable especially talking to people, but it was very hard. Getting down was the hardest, especially because it was dark.”
He gave thanks to everyone who carried out the climb with him: “I can’t thank them enough, they are my heroes literally, every single one of them helped me and motivated me.
“I’m offically retiring from mountains. I’ve conquered everything that I wanted to and have done more than most people so I am happy. I need to concentrate on my welfare.”
Jack’s mum Linda, who had to wait patiently at home to hear news of the climb, said of Jack and Jaimie: “I’m so proud of them both. Jaimie did all this with shingles.”
Jaimie added: “It was hard, very hard. And that’s just me. But I can’t even imagine what Jack was going through. I don’t have any words really, and I’m hardly ever emotional but I think I’ll be crying about this day, the kindness, accomplishment and sheer bloody mindedness for years to come.”
Chris Chittell said: “A privilege to share and experience such an awesome event with not only Jack but some amazing people besides.”
Jack had hoped to raise £1,000 from the event in aid of Bloodwise, but with people donating on the way up the moutnain, and online sponsorship, the figrue is already well above £3,000.
Donations can still be made via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Linda-Marshall10
So what is Jack planning next? Well, he is taking part in the Doncaster 10k in November using his specially adapted racing chair, but this week he is going on holiday to Lanzarote. He said: “I’m not gettintg off that sunbed.”