Petersfield mother runs London Marathon to honour paralysed nephew
Emma-Jo Jones, a mother of two from Petersfield, is about to take on her first-ever marathon on Sunday October 3rd. Inspired by her young nephew Ralph, 3, Emma-Jo is tackling the 26.2 miles across the Hampshire hills to raise money for the charity that is helping Ralph manage his paralysis.
Ralph suffered a spinal stroke just after his birth in December 2017. The damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed from the waist down, his hips out of alignment and his feet twisted backwards. After leaving hospital his mum, India - Emma-Jo’s sister - was told there was nothing more that could be done to help him. However, she found Neurokinex Kids, a highly specialist spinal cord rehabilitation centre near Gatwick which turned out to be a lifeline for Ralph who is progressing incredibly well under their care and guidance.
“I’ve been a casual runner for a few years and do one or two half marathons every year,” says Emma-Jo. “I always admired people who ran a marathon but thought there was no way on earth I’d take on the challenge! But during lockdown, there were days where I just kept running and started to clock up the miles and I thought maybe I could do this after all. When India told me that Neurokinex had some places in the virtual London Marathon I thought now was as good a time as any to see what I could do. I’m running with my friend, Imogen who is running for Versus Arthritis.”
Neurokinex is very close to Emma-Jo’s heart because of all they’ve done for Ralph. “I’ve been to a few of his sessions and am just so amazed at the progress he’s made there. The staff are wonderful with him and the techniques and skills they have are mind-blowing. Quite simply, without Neurokinex, Ralph wouldn’t be where he is today. The facility is an absolute Godsend and raising money by running the London Marathon is my way of saying ‘thank you’ for all they have done to help Ralph,” says Emma-Jo.
Emma-Jo and Imogen have mapped out a route near their homes in Petersfield. They will start in Durford Wood, head down to Milland and Fernhurst and then track that route back. A little over halfway, they will be at the Jolly Drover pub at Rake. Then they’ll run down the old A3 and past the Half Moon pub, down Pullens Lane to the Taro and then across to Petersfield Heath and pass Petersfield Hospital. The final mile will see them finish at the back entrance to Churcher’s College Senior School on Love Lane. They will then cool off with a short walk to the Queen’s Head pub in Sheet, where friends and family will meet them. They have planned for family and friends to be at set points along the way to offer support. Ralph and his twin brother Wilbur have the important task of supplying jelly babies and water as Emma-Jo and Imogen progress.
“Unlike the actual London marathon, our route is rather hilly with a rise of 1,000 ft!” says Emma-Jo. “We’ve done most of it in training so know where the difficult sections are. The way I see it is that I may be in pain on the day and for a while afterwards but that will be short-lived compared to the discomfort and difficulties that Ralph and other Neurokinex clients face each day.”
Emma-Jo is hoping to raise £2,500 for Neurokinex. You can support her effort here Emma-Jo Jones is fundraising for Tree of Hope