A swimmer will take on a 10k challenge in honour of a youngster battling against Crohn’s Disease.
Dean Laybourne is in training for the Great North Swim, which will see him plunge into the icy waters of Windermere in the Lake District.
The 30-year-old, from Washington, was inspired to take part by eight-year-old Lewis Jones, the son of family friends who has the condition, which causes inflammation of the digestive system.
The Lambton Primary School pupil’s diagnosis came two years ago. Lewis has to undergo infusions of infliximab, which targets the over production of proteins thought to cause inflammation.
As part of his treatment at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, Lewis - who lives with mum Julia Jones, 30, dad Iain, 34, a manager for a manufacturing firm, and brother Alex, four- has a peg which goes into his stomach.
The illness causes the Lambton youngster pain and sickness and diarrhoea, as well as tiredness, with time off school needed when he is unwell or needs to undergo checks and treatment.
It’s going to be really hard, but it’s something I want to do for a good cause.Dean Laybourne
Dean, who is business manager for Marlborough Primary School in Sulgrave, has been training around four times a week in preparation for the swim in June, which will raise funds for Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Dean, who is married to estate agent Sarah, 30, and dad to Heidi, five, has been swimming at Birtley’s pool and joined triathlon competitors who train at the lake at Hetton Lyons Park.
He also joined in the Swimathon event held by Washington Leisure Centre earlier this month, completing a 5k for Marie Curie.
He said: “I’ve done the Great North Run before and saw the Great North Swim and I thought, as I can’t run as good now, I can still swim.
“I heard about Julia’s son and started thinking about what I could do for him.
“It’s going to be really hard, but it’s something I want to do for a good cause.”
Lewis’ mum Julia, who is also an estate agent, said: “We’re hoping to go and cheer on Dean on the day by the side of the lake.
“We have to go to the RVI every four weeks for his infusions and my work are unbelievably good, but Lewis has to undergo a lot of tests and treatment.
“It’s a big strain, especially when he’s not feeling very well, he can’t do very much and has to take time off school.
“I can’t praise the RVI enough, they’ve got a fantastic team and consultant who have been helping Lewis.”
The Jones family are planning to take part in the Crohn’s and Colitis UK Walk It Newcastle event on Saturday, May 27, in Leazes Park.
To sponsor Dean, visit https://www.gofundme.com/10km-outdoor-swim-for-lewis-jones.
To back the Jones family on their walk, visit http://bit.ly/2pIgP3P.