A teenager waiting to find out whether he has inherited an incurable illness from his late mother is to conquer a mountain in her memory.
Eighteen-year-old Josh Beasley said he is determined to climb Mont Blanc in Switzerland, after losing his mum Anne Beasley to Huntington’s Disease when he was just 10 years old.
He said: “It’s a genetically inherited disease, so there’s a 50-50 chance I could have it.
“It’s similar to Parkinson’s Disease – it basically destroys the brain and takes away the ability to talk.”
There is currently no cure for the neurodegenerative disease, which targets the nervous system and can cause psychiatric problems, difficulties with behaviour, feeding, communication and abnormal movements.
However it is hoped that ongoing research into the debilitating illness will one day provide a cure.
Josh, who lives on Springfield Avenue and who hopes to study criminology at Northumbria University next year, said conquering the mountain would be a fitting tribute to his mum, who died when she was only 48.
The mammoth undertaking will see Josh scale Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps – alongside other intrepid fundraisers over a five-day period. Not only that, but the teenager’s charity trek next August will raise at least £2,000 for the Huntington’s Disease Association, who support people affected by the disease and provide information and advice to professionals who support families.
Although the run-up to the New Year will see Josh awaiting his test results, the brave student said “he is pretty calm about it all”.
He added: “It’s quite a long process. First, you have to go to a GP to get referred to a genetic councillor and go for a few appointments.
“Then it’s a blood test – it’s quite spaced out.”
But even if Josh does not receive the results he hopes for, the teenager said he won’t let Huntington’s get the better of him and vows to ‘keep his chin up’. Next year he hopes to further his student life at Northumbria University where he will get stuck into his criminology course.
If you would like to donate towards Josh’s £2,000 target, you can do so online by visiting: www.justgiving.com/Josh-Beasley
For more information on Huntington’s Disease visit www.hda.org.uk