In celebration of their 25th birthday next month, Pendle Martial Arts Academy are holding a 12-hour Grapplethon to raise invaluable funds for two very special causes close to every member's heart.
A stalwart feature of the sporting scene in Brierfield for the last 25 years, the school will be hosting the Grapplethon between 8am and 8pm on Saturday, 8th June - the very day of their quarter-century anniversary - to raise funds for Lymphoma Action and Leeds Cares. Clubs from across the North-West are invited to come down, make a small donation, and join in.
Inspired to do something to give back on their big day, the academy, which offers classes six days a week and boasts a number of regional and national champions, has chosen their charities for very special reasons indeed.
During the summer of 2018, one of the school's instructors, Colin, noticed he had developed a number of painful lumps in his neck and went to see his GP. After a hospital referral and numerous tests, he was unfortunately diagnosed with lymphoma, although Colin has since undergone treatment and has been given a very positive prognosis indeed.
"Colin has been with us at the academy since we began 25 years ago and his diagnosis came as a big shock to us all," said a spokesperson for the school. "Lymphoma is the fifth-biggest cancer in the UK, with somebody diagnosed every 27 minutes.
"Lymphoma Action is the only UK charity dedicated to fighting this disease, they do some amazing work, and we would be proud to raise as much money as possible for them," they added, with a raffle also scheduled to be held on the day to help raise additional funds.
Also in the summer of 2018, academy member Max Bridges - who had been training at the school for two years at that point - found out that he and his wife Emily were expecting twins. In November later in the year, Emily unexpectedly went into labour and Max had to deliver the babies on their bathroom floor.
"As Zachary and Dexter came into the world, Max had to carry out CPR on Zachary," said the spokesperson. "The twins were initially taken to Airedale Hospital, however they weren't able to provide the specialist neonatal care that the boys needed, so they were transferred to Leeds Hospital.
"Sadly, after just three days and 17 hours, Zachary unfortunately died," they added. "Dexter continued to fight and after four weeks in hospital he was allowed home where he continues to grow stronger every day."
With Leeds Cares providing crucial support, accommodation, and assistance with transport for Max and Emily on Ward 43, the school are understandably keen to make a donation in their name as well.
To make a donation, head to he club's sponsorship page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=PendleMartialArtsAcademy&pageUrl=1. For further information email Catherine at email@example.com.