Siblings to complete 'Mixed Up Ironman' at Ironkids Wales this weekend!

One boy’s quest to help a friend has grown into a family challenge across 140.6 miles of swimming, cycling and running. Last year, nine year old Ciaran Thompson decided to complete a mixed up marathon to raise funds for a friend in need by completing one mile a week for 26 weeks. This year, he has decided to go three steps further and complete a “mixed up IRONMAN”.
After completing his mixed up marathon and raising £3000, Ciaran has decided to up the ante and complete an IRONMAN – bit-by-bit with the help of his sister Erin (6) and brother Cameron (3). The children will complete their “mixed up IRONMAN” at IRONKIDS Wales supported by Shanly Foundation, this year on 9 September as part of the IRONMAN Wales weekend in Tenby, Pembrokeshire.
The motivation for the challenge is to help their friend, three-year-old Jessica Newell, who suffers from Leigh’s Disease, a form of mitochondrial disease for which there is no cure. Leigh’s Disease is a life-limiting condition as Jessica is not able to release energy through the cells in her body. Although severely disabled, Jessica has astonished her medical team with her progress. However, life expectancy for children with Leigh’s disease is very poor and, after discovering that Jessica is unlikely to reach adulthood, Ciaran wanted to do something to help.
“I do it because my friend Jessica is poorly. If I raise money it helps to make Jessica's life better and helps her mummy and daddy. I had to do something more difficult than my marathon this year to try and raise more money.  I also needed to think of a different challenge because my little brother and sister wanted to do it because they love Jessica as much as I do.  Our friends come and do our activities with us which makes it good fun,” Ciaran explained. 
Ciaran’s journey was mainly carried out in Knowle where he lives. The three children share the swim distance and have mainly done their swimming at George's Swim Academy as well as David Lloyd in Solihull. Even when away from home, they completed part of their swim in Lake Chelan near Seattle with their cousins who live there.
Erin mainly does the cycling and friends have helped her complete the weekly distance of 4.3 miles by completing half-mile laps around the local park, while Ciaran is the runner.
Ciaran is looking forward to completing their challenge at IRONKIDS Wales supported by Shanly Foundation and to be part of the IRONMAN Wales weekend in Tenby.
“I feel really excited, I didn't expect to get to do anything like this. I thought I would run my normal mile in the village I live in on the final week.  I feel a bit sorry for the people who will do their IRONMAN all in one go, we've taken six months to do ours!” added Ciaran, pictured far left with sister Erin and younger brother Cameron.
Jessica and her family receive great support from the local charities, Marlow Opportunity Playgroup and Pepper Children’s Nursing Service, to which the children will be distributing all funds raised. Both charities are also supported by Shanly Foundation which is a sponsor to the IRONKIDS Wales event. Marlow Opportunity Playgroup provides Jessica with one-on-one specialist care and play every morning, and Pepper Nurses provide nightly care three nights a week, giving her parents an opportunity to get proper sleep knowing she is being cared for through the night.
“The “mixed up IRONMAN” that Ciaran, Erin and Cameron are completing has completely blown us away. For these children to have the empathy to realise and understand what another young child is going through and to actually go out and try to help has been very humbling indeed. The money that they hope to raise will help Jessica and others who suffer from Mitochondrial Disease. We can't thank them enough for their dedication,” said Jessica’s father, Keith Newell.
Speaking about her children’s decision to dedicate themselves to helping Jessica, Liz Thompson and her husband Adrian have supported their children in their endeavours.
“Adrian and I feel incredibly proud of the children. They have chosen something fun to do and have stuck with it week in week out for six months. Watching their friends join them is a proud moment too. We have had such fantastic support from the children's school and the community we live in that it makes it all the more special. Anyone who meets Jessica is captured by her warmth and charm and our children are no exception,” said Liz Thompson, mother of Ciaran, Erin and Cameron.
Their “mixed up IRONMAN” will be completed 9 September at IRONKIDS Wales supported by Shanly Foundation, part of the IRONMAN Wales weekend in Tenby, Pembrokeshire where Ciaran and Erin will run 1.5km and Cameron will run 1km.
“IRONKIDS is always an incredibly special event to witness and is a major part of the IRONMAN Wales weekend but what Ciaran, Erin and Cameron have undertaken is truly inspiring. Their dedication to help Jessica proves that anyone can make a difference no matter how big the challenge,” said IRONMAN Wales Race Director, Lisa Dent.  
Anyone looking to support the Thompson children in their efforts to raise funds for Jessica Newell can visit their fundraising page   All funds raised will be distributed to Marlow Opportunity Playgroup and Pepper Children’s Nursing Service.
Article reproduced courtesy of Ironman UK and Ireland.  FIND OUT MORE ABOUT IRON KIDS