Young Rays of Sunshine simulate Kilimanjaro climb for charity

Three young people, including two from south west London, who are all suffering from serious illnesses are embarking on a 37-mile trek on inclined treadmills to replicate the height of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The trio, whose ages range from 15 to 25, are raising money for Rays of Sunshine, a children’s charity who brighten the lives of seriously ill children across the UK.

Joe Lunn from Mitcham (18) and Olivia Bradburn from Teddington (15), as well as Hannah Phillips from Lewisham (25) are aiming to raise £7,000 for Rays of Sunshine during their ascent on Sunday 18 October.

The trio explained: “The three of us know the true value of a wish and our focus during this huge, but exciting, challenge will be to raise as much money as we can so that other children can experience the same happiness & special memories that Rays of Sunshine has given us.”

Jane Sharpe, a trustee of Rays of Sunshine called the three young climbers a true inspiration.

She added: “We cannot be more grateful to each of them for their unwavering support of Rays of Sunshine, especially during such unprecedented times.

“We have no doubt that they will reach their target and we’re excited to cheer them on every step of the way on their climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!”

Joe is currently battling Metastatic Synovial Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer and in 2019, he had an operation that removed all the tumours.

Earlier on this year, Joe went on a 100-mile cycle ride and has now decided to take on his second major challenge with this climb.

Rays of Sunshine allowed Joe to complete his greatest wish and meet his hero Rory McIlroy last year.

Olivia was born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Artresia and at just seven months old had a liver transplant.

She has had to undergo many more major surgeries since then and still suffers from health complications now.

Rays of Sunshine allowed Olivia to complete her greatest wish to meet Winter the dolphin in Florida in 2014.

Hannah, who suffers from Complicated Ebstein’s Anomaly, an incurable heart disease, underwent open heart surgery at the age of just nine years old.

Since then, she has spent significant amounts of time in hospital and has undergone a further seven surgeries including the implantation of a pacemaker.

In 2014, Rays of Sunshine allowed Hannah to complete her greatest wish and meet the singer Jessie J.

So far, they have raised over £4,000 towards their Kilimanjaro target.

To support Joe, Olivia and Hannah please donate at the JustGiving page here.

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