A six year-old climbing extraordinaire, Isaac Norton, from south Wales will next month take on the mighty Welsh peak, Mount Snowdon to raise money for JDRF after being inspired by his best friend Fin, who has Type 1 diabetes.
Isaac, a keen climber will undertake the impressive feat alongside his father, Darren, his grandfather, Vaughan, and Fin’s father, Andrew. A challenge for even the most seasoned walkers, this undertaking is made even more impressive as Isaac is six years of age. Mount Snowdon in northern Wales reaches a height of 1,085 metres, or more than 3700 feet and is the highest point in the UK outside of the Scottish Highlands. Climbing the peak really is a tall order.
Isaac’s expedition has already received celebrity recognition and support. Michael Sheen, south Wales native and Hollywood star of films such as Twilight, Frost/Nixon and The Damned United, has voiced his support for the climb and the families on Twitter.
The actor retweeted Isaac’s mum and added ‘not every day a six year old climbs highest mountain in Wales to help his best friend!’
Fin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2012 when he was only two years old. Fin’s mother, Bethan Gough, had observed how he was drinking and going to the bathroom more often than was expected. Recognising these as some of the signs of type 1 diabetes she took Fin to a local Out of Hours Emergency department where he was diagnosed immediately with the condition and admitted to hospital for five days. The family were then given the necessary information on type 1 diabetes, including on giving Fin daily insulin injections. Bethan has said that this was akin to receiving “a crash course in keeping our son alive”.
This inspired Isaac to combine his love for climbing with his wish to help his friend. He decided to tackle the Welsh peak to raise money for JDRF. The two boys have been friends since nursery school, sharing a common love for rugby and an enthusiasm for life. Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, has learnt how to do Fin's blood tests and administer his insulin so that he is able to go to Isaac’s house after school to play.
Isaac had the idea to climb Snowdon after conquering Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, also in Wales. After what his parents have called a period of ‘nagging’ from Isaac on the subject of climbing Snowdon it was suggested that, as this was such a big challenge for someone his age, he should climb the peak on behalf of a charity. He immediately expressed a wish to help Fin by raising money for JDRF. When asked why he chose this charity Isaac replied that “it makes [him] really sad that Fin has to wear a pump and have lots of injections”.
The fundraising for Isaac’s expedition has been astonishing. Isaac and his mother Rebekah set up a JustGiving page on the 4th June and the page had received £500 in donations by the next day. Isaac himself had originally set a target to reach £1000, but he and his family set what was then seen as a more ‘realistic’ target of £250. However the donations kept flooding in, far exceeding this initial target and the overall figure, from numerous donations, stands at a hugely impressive £1,190.00 (June 22nd). Fin was so grateful at his friend’s kindness that wanted to donate all his birthday money to say thank you! In the end he settled on donating £15 of his birthday money to be the one to take the total raised to £1000.
Bethan Gough, Fin’s mother, said of Isaac’s expedition:
“Our dream for Fin would be for there to one day be a cure which we know JDRF are actively working on. When Rebekah told me that Isaac wanted to climb Snowdon for Fin I was so overwhelmed and emotional as it's such a massive feat for a six year old. We are all travelling up to north Wales to be there when Isaac achieves his goal as we are so grateful to him for what he is doing.”
Rebekah Norton, Isaac’s mother, added:
“Isaac wants to raise lots of money so that hopefully a cure will be found one day, and Fin won't have to wear a pump anymore. I have had to explain to Isaac that what he's doing won't make Fin better straight away, because he's getting so excited as he's seeing the total increase, and keeps saying 'oh Fin is going to get better even sooner now!' But he knows that it will help make a difference to Fin and others with type 1, and he's thrilled about that.”
The ever-modest Isaac has himself acknowledged the difficulty he faces, conceding that the expedition will not be easy, but has shown a remarkable determination to reach the summit for his best friend.
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Are you inspired by Isaac's climbing challenge? You could run, walk, swim or even cycle from Brussels to Paris for JDRF!