Teen raises big total with a little help from his friends

Jack Maxwell, front centre, with brother Harry and other fellow Newminster pupils, school staff and mum Lindsay, back right.
Jack Maxwell, front centre, with brother Harry and other fellow Newminster pupils, school staff and mum Lindsay, back right.

A Morpeth school was a sea of blue and black in support of a pupil’s major fund-raising effort.

Jack Maxwell has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and after he did assemblies to raise awareness of his condition, the 13-year-old and a group of his friends organised some activities in aid of Action Duchenne, which funds research and supports sufferers.

The charity sent t-shirts, wristbands and pin badges to sell and staff agreed to hold a non-uniform day last Friday.

There was a chocolate tombola, raffle and bake sale and a number of Jack’s fellow pupils also did some of the tailored PE activities that he does each week. About £1,700 has been raised, with more to come.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which primarily affects boys, is caused by a mutation in the gene that encodes for dystrophin. Because dystrophin is absent, the muscle cells are easily damaged and this weakness leads to serious medical problems.

Jack was born with it, but as it is a progressive condition, problems became more noticeable at first school age when playing sports. He was diagnosed at the age of seven.

The Newminster Middle School Year 8 pupil said: “Everyone at the school has got right behind it and the first set of t-shirts sold out quickly, so we had to order some more.

“My friends and the staff involved were very helpful and it’s good that we’ve raised a decent amount for the charity.”

Jack’s mother, Lindsay, added: “The main issue he faces at school is getting from A to B and he also needs a laptop for writing at times.

“The support from Newminster has been amazing and he’s got a great group of friends who help to clear the way for him and open doors.”

Teaching assistant Lisa Culling, who led the staff effort, said: “Jack is an absolute delight and he is an extremely positive influence because pupils have told me that following the assemblies and fund-raising, they are more aware of people with disabilities both in and out of school.”