Georgia's JanuRun challenge for brother Jasper

20 Jan 2023, 1:35 p.m.

Photo of Jasper smiling holding an ice cream next to Georgia, smiling. Both sitting outside on a sunny day.

Jasper, now seven, had a large bleed on his brain just hours after he was born in June 2015.

He had emergency surgery at GOSH the following day, and went on to have multiple more operations while staying on the hospital’s Koala Ward.

As a result of the brain haemorrhage at birth, Jasper was diagnosed with left-sided cerebral palsy, as well as hydrocephalus.  At the age of one, he was also diagnosed with epilepsy.

A few years ago, Jasper’s older sister, Georgia, took on a challenge to cover 31 miles in January to raise money for GOSH Charity. Here, she tells us more.

Unbelievable support from GOSH

"Jasper has had support from Great Ormond Street Hospital since he was born. He spent the first few months of his life at GOSH.

“It was obviously very upsetting – the thought of a young person having to go through that stress is horrible. As a sibling, naturally you are very concerned.

“At the time, I wanted to be able to support my dad and step mum, Gemma, as well as Jasper.

“Great Ormond Street were unbelievable – the most amazing hospital ever. We’re very indebted to them, so to speak. Because they’ve just been fantastic."

"The strength of character Jasper shows is amazing"

“I’ve visited Jasper at GOSH over the years. When he was very little, we came to see him. He was in intensive care for quite a long time. It was tricky, but the staff were really supportive.

“Everyone has always been very welcoming when we’ve visited. I’ve sat there [with Jasper] and played games and watched things on the iPad.

“I know something he absolutely loves is when people come round the wards with music. I always thought that was amazing, and know Jasper really enjoys it.

“Jasper continues to be in and out of GOSH. [It’s] obviously stressful, but the hospital is so amazing at keeping everyone informed and up to date with everything."

“It’s kind of uplifting, as well as being worrying. The strength of character that Jasper shows, which he has got from the hospital support, is amazing."

Today, Jasper is doing well. He enjoys going to school and spending time with friends. He recently received a new diagnosis, connected to the condition Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep. He has been part of a trial at the Clinical Research Facility at GOSH, in the hope of finding a new treatment.

Taking on JanuRun for Jasper

“I got to January last year and thought ‘well, I need a challenge...’" Georgia continues.

“Supporting GOSH Charity seemed like a natural thing to do.

“I thought JanuRun sounded like a great challenge, because it's not easy, but you can do it the way you want to do it. A great cause and a great way of getting fit in January.

“I got three of my friends involved as well, we did it as a joint thing: Team Jasper.

“We were all varying levels of fitness, but I think that's what's great about this challenge: you can take it as you want to take it. If you want to turn it into a 100km challenge, then you can do that. If you want to just stick to a mile a day, you can do that.

“It’s quite fun to do it as a group because now there are all these apps, like Strava and the Nike running app, it’s quite easy to track how much you're doing. If you want to be competitive about it, you can be. If you want to take it easy, you can. There are so many different ways of partaking, which I thought was fun. You can challenge yourself as much as you want to.

“It’s a team effort, but individual at the same time. And, ultimately, it’s all for the same amazing cause.”

Jasper a “massive motivation”

“Jasper was a massive motivation for me taking part in JanuRun. And my friends were there for me when Jasper was going through it, so – by proxy – Jasper was also their motivation too. They were also supporting me.

“The most challenging part of the challenge was probably the weather... It can be a bit miserable in January. But, on the flip side, it’s all the more rewarding in a way, because it is challenging.

“There were days when I thought: ‘I don’t want to do this’, but that’s when [the flexibility of the challenge] is great...  You can make up miles on a Saturday or Sunday when you’ve got more time.

“At the end of the challenge, I felt great, a lot fitter. I felt like my mental health was a lot better. January is a tricky month for a lot of people. And mental health wise it can be particularly difficult for people... I felt like it really set my year off in a good way. It was nice to have that purpose and structure. The link between your physical and mental health is so apparent.”

The equivalent of running to Brussels

“I felt a massive sense of pride and achievement for completing JanuRun and completing it the way I wanted to complete it.

“It felt good that we’d raised quite a lot of money for GOSH Charity – that was the main aim. We raised over £2,400.

“In total, the four of us – Team Jasper – did 229.9 miles across the 31 days. This worked out as the same distance as running to Brussels!”