Family and friends rally to help brave Burnley man as he battles deadly brain tumours

Josh (centre) receives a cheque from his cousins, Charlotte and Luke Simpson (right) and their friends and colleagues Adam Wallwork (left) and Amanda Kelly who took part in a hike  with them to help raise the cash.
Josh (centre) receives a cheque from his cousins, Charlotte and Luke Simpson (right) and their friends and colleagues Adam Wallwork (left) and Amanda Kelly who took part in a hike with them to help raise the cash.
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The bravery and positive spirit of her cousin, who is battling a rare brain tumour, was the inspiration for Charlotte Simpson to do everything she could to help.

So she decided to use her passion for hiking to raise as much money as possible for her cousin, Josh Heron.

The intrepid four on the hike for Josh devised by Adam Wallwork (front) with Luke, Charlotte and Amanda.

The intrepid four on the hike for Josh devised by Adam Wallwork (front) with Luke, Charlotte and Amanda.

And so far, Charlotte and her friends and family have raised the incredible sum of £5,000 which way surpasses their original target of £3,000.

At the weekend Charlotte, who is a theatre support worker at Burnley General Hospital, and her brother Luke, took on the challenge of hiking 25 km and climbing around 6,000 feet in a hike in the Lake District that took in 12 hills and peaks including Sheffield Pike, Sticks Pass, Helvellyn, Nethermost Pike and High Crag.

The route was devised by Adam Wallwork, who works in the radiology department of the hospital, at the request of Charlotte who wanted a challenge and something a little bit different.

Adam led the walk and they were also joined by Amanda Kelly, another friend and colleague. They carried a banner bearing the slogan "Let your faith be bigger than your fear #hikeforjosh."

Charlotte said: "My passion is hiking so I decided I could use that to help raise some money for Josh.

"He is the strongest, bravest person I know and I love him dearly as we grew up together and we are a close family.

"But Josh's attitude and outlook on life despite what has happened to him absolutely amazes us every day.

"The generosity of family, friends and everyone else who has donated has left us overwhelmed."

The money will go towards alternative therapies for Josh and also days and treats for him as he continues to battle the terrible disease.

Josh, who will be 27 next week, was diagnosed with an Ependymoma, a rare type of brain tumour, in April 2014, for which there is no cure.

Doctors made the devastating discovery just months after he had emigrated from his home in Burnley to Canada with his mum and dad Kimberley and Brian and two sisters, Kirsty (24) and 19-year-old Holly.

Josh, who is a former pupil of St Joseph's RC Primary and St Theodore's RC High schools, underwent brain surgery and six weeks of stereotactic radiotherapy and two gamma knife surgeries.

But sadly the original tumour spread to other areas of his brain and he now has three brain tumours.

The family made the decision to move back to Burnley just before Christmas and Kimberley gave up her job to become her son's full-time carer.

Charlotte said: "My aunt has been amazing, she has become Josh's rock throughout all of this, she is truly amazing."

Josh, who worked as a joiner and is also a trained ski instructor, is enjoying spending time with friends and relatives and the money raised by Charlotte will be put towards alternative therapies he may wish to try and also days out, trips and anything he fancies doing.

Charlotte (28) added: "Josh is limited to what he can do as he does get tired easily and he does have problems with his memory but we just want him to have some good times."

If you would like to make a donation please go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hiking4josh.