Seven-year-olds Harry Byrne and Owen Hammond have been football friends since they could kick a ball. So when Harry embarked on a ‘race around the moon’ challenge to show his love for his seriously ill little brother Reuben, his good buddy Owen said he’d support him every step of the way.
Last weekend the pair took on the Stones to Stones challenge to clock-up 26 miles each towards Harry’s 6786-mile target to cover the distance around the moon and beyond.
The friends hope it will raise money and awareness for the two children’s hospices who care for Harry’s two-year-old brother Reuben – Julia’s House children’s hospice and Naomi House & Jacksplace. Already, Harry’s race around the moon has gained support from people across Wiltshire and raised close to £5,000 for the children’s hospices with one more month to go.
Harry and Owen, who play together at Durrington Football Club, covered the distance from Avebury Stones to Stonehenge with their dads Sean Byrne and Ian Hammond in just 12 hours – and they even made time for a cake pit-stop along the way.
Dad Sean, from Larkhill, said, “I’m so proud of Harry and his friend Owen for raising vital funds and awareness for two wonderful charities that support our family.
“Today’s challenge has taught Harry many lessons but the one most prevalent in my mind is: endeavouring together with great friends allows common people to achieve uncommon results.”
Harry’s little brother Reuben was born with an extremely rare condition that causes his brain to deteriorate. It is the same condition that Harry’s older sister Olivia sadly died from when she was just eight months old. Thanks to medical advancements that help to treat his severe seizures, Reuben has just celebrated his second birthday, but he is acutely disabled and requires round-the-clock care from his family.
“Having the support of Julia’s House children’s hospice is amazing,” said Mum Sophie. “Their nurses and carers come into our home to give us respite breaks and we have the option of using their facilities at the Devizes hospice too. It means we get time to focus on Harry and our six-month-old baby, Felix. Julia’s House offers sibling sessions too, so Harry has his own dedicated Sibling Worker to explore and play with – it’s special time, just for him.”
Sophie added, “Harry’s an incredible big brother and he’s so loving and caring with Reuben. He’s always cuddling him and checking he’s okay. If Reuben has a seizure, Harry will be there stroking his head and telling him not to worry. It makes my heart burst to see them together.”
Nicky Clack, Fundraising Administrator for Julia’s House said, “We’ve loved watching Harry’s journey ‘around the moon’ through his videos and photos on his Facebook page. He’s an inspirational big brother and young fundraiser – it’s incredible to think he’s just seven years old!
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to both Harry and Owen for completing their mega Stones to Stones challenge for Julia’s House children’s hospice and Naomi House & Jacksplace. We rely on our supporters to fund our care in the Wiltshire community, so every donation helps us to keep caring for children like Reuben and their families.”
You can support Harry’s ‘A race around the moon challenge’ at his Virgin Giving Money page.