Sunderland teenager to compete in One Show challenge

The Rickshaw Challenge team
The Rickshaw Challenge team
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A Sunderland teenager who battles with an aggressive form of epilepsy is joining BBC’s The One Show to take on a charity challenge.

Ross Jackson, 18, will be getting in the saddle for the show’s Rickshaw Challenge, which raises money for BBC Children in Need.

Ross, centre, with Alex and Matt from The One Show

Ross, centre, with Alex and Matt from The One Show

It’s a cause close to the teenager’s heart as Ross attends the Bluewatch Youth Centre in Ryhope, a project part funded by BBC Children in Need.

At the age of six, Ross was diagnosed with mixed aggressive epilepsy, a condition which can cause him to collapse several times a day, without warning.

As a result he wears a leather helmet to protect his head from injury, and is carefully monitored by those around him. Bluewatch Youth Centre has provided Ross with the space and opportunity to enjoy many of the activities enjoyed by other young people his age with confidence.

Speaking about the centre, he said: “Bluewatch is one of the few places where I can be myself and have fun without fear. I feel so free and confident when I’m cycling, so the Rickshaw Challenge is a great chance for me to get involved and help change another young person’s life.”

The centre delivers weekend sessions and events for children and young people with additional support needs. They particularly encourage young people to take up and enjoy cycling activities as a way of building their self-reliance and independence.

Now in its sixth year, this year’s Rickshaw team will cover a 470-mile journey from the Scottish Border town of Jedburgh to central London.

Along the way, One Show presenter Matt Baker will be on the road cycling alongside the team offering support and advice, whilst Alex Jones will be following their every move, cheering them on, live from the studio.

Embarking on Friday, November 11, the young riders will work their way down Britain’s East Coast in a bid to cross the finish line on Friday, November 18, in time for the BBC Children in Need Appeal Show.

To date the challenge has raised more than £12million and the young riders will not only test their pedal power, but also their mettle, as they deliver speeches to a live audience explaining their motivations for taking on the challenge this year.

This year the rickshaw will be pedalled by five other young riders, all of whom have been supported by BBC Children in Need funded projects.

Speaking of this year’s challenge Matt Baker said: “Every year I am inspired by the incredible young people who take on the Rickshaw Challenge, and this year is no different. The six young riders in Team Rickshaw have faced major challenges in their lives already, but thanks to the charity they have been able to overcome so much; and now they feel ready to give back. We hope that the public will rally behind them to help raise more money for BBC Children in Need. “It really does make such a difference.”

To support the challenge, you can donate either £5 or £10 by text. To donate £5 text the word TEAM to 70405. To donate £10 text TEAM to 70410. Texts will cost your donation plus the standard network message charge. All of your donation will go to BBC Children in Need. You must be 16 or over and please ask for the bill payer’s permission. For more information and full terms and conditions go to bbc.co.uk/pudsey. The Text to donate Service will close on the 31st December 2016.