A Southsea father of two is taking on the Gosport Half Marathon this weekend as part of a ‘four races in four months’ challenge to raise funds for a friend’s seven-year-old daughter who has Rett Syndrome.
Ally Jones, 38, a charity operations manager, completed the Vitality London 10K in September and the Great South run in Portsmouth last month, beating his personal best in both. In November he will be running the Gosport Half Marathon and in December, the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon. He hopes to beat his personal best in each race.
Rosalie Duncalfe, 7, who lives in Normandy, Guildford, is smart, funny, and sociable, and loves animals, music and exploring.
She has the rare genetic condition Rett Syndrome, which leaves her unable to walk and unable to stand without assistance. She has limited use of her hands, a feeding tube and experiences several seizures each day. While she can understand most of what is said to her, she is non-verbal and communicates using her eyes, with the help of symbols and an eye gaze computer. Rosalie requires 24/7 care.
Ally, who met Rosalie’s parents Tina and Phil through the Guildford church network said: ‘As a parent myself, seeing how much effort Rosalie’s parents put into both fundraising for her and caring for her, taking on some races felt like the least I could do. Plus running for Rosalie will hopefully give me that extra boost I need to boost my personal best times.’
Rosalie’s parents Phil, 35, a charity worker and Tina, also 35, a trainee occupational therapist, have already raised more than £10,000 for disabled adaptations for their home via a series of events. They have recently been able to raise enough for a wheelchair accessible vehicle for Rosalie. This will make it make it safer and easier to take Rosalie out and about, enabling her to have more experiences and opportunities like other children her age. They now read to raise more money to adapt the van to meet Rosalie’s needs and will include ramps and fittings to secure the chair inside. It will also include a safe and clean space for Rosalie to lie down if she needs a rest or to be changed.
Fundraising events the couple have already completed this year include the Milton Keynes Marathon, the 62 km Fox Ultramarathon around Guildford and the London to Brighton Cycle Ride.
Phil said: ‘Rosalie’s disability has a profound impact on her life and restricts her opportunities and life experiences.’
‘Rosalie cannot move independently and as she gets bigger it is becoming harder to physically lift her in and out of our current car. Rosalie is almost 18kg and we are putting our health at risk by lifting her but at present we have no other option. We love being outdoors, exploring, going for walks, and visiting areas of natural beauty. We hope that an adapted van will enable us to do this easier as a family. Any money that we raise will go towards a van and the adaptations required for Rosalie along with providing specialist and sensory equipment that will support and improve her physical and mental health and wellbeing.’
‘Our vision is to create a safe haven for her where we can care for her easily and she can feel safe and content. Your donations will help us make this a reality.’
The family is being supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope which helps families fundraise for children like Rosalie with healthcare needs, where the NHS can’t support and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.
Georgina Lowry, Head of Marketing and Family Support at Tree of Hope said: ‘We’re delighted to be helping the Duncalfe family with their continuing fundraising and it’s brilliant to see they have so much support from their friends and community. We wish Ally all the best with his challenge.’
To donate to Rosalie’s fund, visit https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/
For more information about Rett Syndrome, visit https://www.rettuk.org/what-
For more information, images or to arrange interviews please contact Catherine Cooper on 00 33 5 61 69 57 89, 00 33 6 09 03 55 88 or firstname.lastname@example.org