A Sunderland teenager has spoken of his pride after he helped to raise almost £4million for The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge for BBC Children in Need.
Eighteen-year-old Ross Jackson was one of six young riders to undertake the 470-mile journey down Britain’s East Coast from the Scottish Border town of Jedburgh to central London earlier this month.
Ross was selected for the challenge following his involvement with Bluewatch Youth Centre, in Ryhope, a project supporting children and young people with additional support needs, which receives funding from 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.
Although he would like to lead an independent life like any teen his age, the condition limits even the most simple, everyday activities.
At the youth centre, Ross is able to enjoy many of the activities young people his age with confidence.
One of the activities the project encourages young people to take up is cycling, which can help build their self-reliance and independence.
Before Bluewatch, Ross worried that cycling would be too dangerous but, with their help and training, Ross’ confidence on the bike has improved and he is now more eager than ever to get out and ride.
The Rickshaw Challenge generated £3.8million in donations and has now raised more than £15.8million in six years.
“I am so proud of what me and my teammates have accomplished as part of this year’s Rickshaw Challenge,” said Ross.
“I still can’t believe the amazing total we’ve helped to raise.
“I want to thank everyone who came to see us on the road or donated, because it was a tough week and we couldn’t have done it without you.”
In addition to riding the rickshaw, each member of this year’s team was asked to give a speech about their personal journey and experience with BBC Children in Need.
Ross delivered his at the first indoor Olympic cycling track, the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
Another highlight from Ross’ challenge was cycling through his home-town where he introduced BBC presenter Matt Baker to his family, friends and his favourite takeaway shop.
Ross also pedalled the rickshaw into the Hartlepool finish line on November 13, where his family and friends joined him to celebrate.
This year’s Children in Need raised a huge £46.6million for worthy causes.