A youngster said being diagnosed with the same incurable disease that killed his mum won’t get the better of him, and has vowed to live life to the full.
Josh Beasley, 18, found out he had inherited Huntington’s disease last week, following months of anxious waiting for test results.
He said: “I won’t let it hold me back. If anything, it’s made me more determined than every before.”
Josh, of Springfield Avenue, knew he had a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the neurodegenerative disease from his mother, Anne Beasley, who died when she was just 48.
There is currently no cure. The disease 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 had waited since before Christmas to find out whether he had inherited the disease, proving an anxious wait for him and his family over the festive season and New Year.
Josh added: “There is nothing I can do about the diagnosis, so I’m going to stay positive.
“I was a bit gutted when they told me, but I need to make the most of it.”
And make the most of it he will, with the brave youngster preparing to embark on the journey of a lifetime this summer.
Josh is preparing to climb Mont Blanc – the highest mountain in the Alps – so he can raise as much money for the Huntington’s Disease Association as possible.
He added: “It’s also made me want to do more fundraising. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, but I’m definitely going to do more.”
Josh has already smashed his £2,000 for the mountain trek, having racked up a total of £814.71 from a charity evening he held at the Pack Horse pub in Old Town.
He added: “I received a £500 donation from Murray Hill Solicitors, £250 from Marine Bar, £100 from Lloyd Dowson and DC Joinery have offered to sponsor me £20 each day of my trek if I wear their logo on my shirts.”
The money Josh raises will go towards research and support work by the Huntington’s Disease Association.
The charity exists to support people affected by the disease and to provide information and advice to professionals whose task it is to support Huntington’s disease families.
You can still donate towards Josh’s mountain climb by visiting his Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/Josh-Beasley
After Josh finishes this summer, he is off to Northumbria University to study criminology – having received course offers from all five of his choices.