Jake James, a disabled 14-year-old from Newquay in Cornwall has successfully rowed 26 miles, the distance of a full marathon, to thank Family Fund for supporting his family through the years.

Jake, who has cerebral palsy affecting his lower limbs, uses a wheelchair and a walking frame to get around, but has good upper body strength and greatly enjoys keeping fit in the gym.

Family Fund has made several grants to the James family over the years, which they have used towards spending time together having a family break.

With the support of his physio and personal trainer, Jake had the idea of rowing a marathon in support of Family Fund to say thank you and help the charity reach more families with disabled and seriously ill children.

Cheryl Ward, CEO of Family Fund said: “Jake has worked really hard to prepare for this challenge and it’s inspiring how he’s focused on his unique strengths and talents to work towards achieving it.

“Family Fund is privileged to be able to help families raising disabled and seriously ill children, many of whom face significant emotional and physical challenges, but never waver in their efforts to meet their children’s needs.

“Young people like Jake remind us how incredible the families we support are.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Jake can do so here. 

Jake’s mum, Diana said: “Jake is extremely strong willed and rowing a marathon was completely his own idea. His physio, personal trainer and diabetes nurse are all supporting him and he’s determined to succeed. Having a disability might mean there are some things you can’t do, but Jake’s proving that you can put your mind to anything. I’m extremely proud of him.

We have three other children and money can be quite tight, so charities like Family Fund are a lifesaver. Thankfully Jake’s condition is not life limiting but he has a lot of challenges, including an operation on his Achilles tendon this summer. He also has regular physio which can be pretty tough and botox injections in his legs, so having the grant for a summer holiday means he has something to look forward to and gets a much-deserved break.”

Family Fund is the UK’s largest grant-making charity for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and provided 88,407 grants and services worth over £33 million to families across the country last year. It made grants to 643 families in Cornwall last year.