Young Phoebe Bolton is determined to keep fit and push herself, despite having cystic fibrosis.
Last year, the 11-year-old from Walton-le-Dale climbed Ben Nevis and also trekked up Snowdon, all whilst her lung capacity had dropped.
She is now encouraging fellow youngsters to take up hockey and compete in a charity tournament in September.
Her mum, Sharron, says: “Phoebe has always been into sport and has continued despite her lung capacity drop in 20 per cent over the last 12 months.
“She developed an infection at Christmas and had to spend the festive period in hospital. Doctors changed her medication and she was given a steroid inhaler, which has helped her lung function creep up.
“We are not sure why her lung capacity had dropped but it might be pockets of air trapped in her lungs.
“Despite this, Phoebe is battling on as normal. We attend Nuffield Health gym in Preston and she is a member of Preston Hockey Club.
“We have also been climbing mountains. We started with the hardest, so we could work our way down.
“It was a challenge and took us eight hours. It was sheer encouragement from me that Phoebe got through it as it was so cold, despite being in the summer.
“I had to keep telling her she was doing something many adults couldn’t do, let alone a child with cystic fibrosis. Luckily she kept going, and found the view at the top and the sense of achievement so rewarding.
“Snowdon was a fantastic experience for her.”
Sharron is hoping Phoebe’s achievements will spur other children on to take up an active lifestyle.
She says: “I had spent so much time at Nuffield Health that I decided to become a personal trainer.
“I wanted to extend this to children as I realised there were no after school clubs Phoebe could attend. She couldn’t do cross country or football because she could develop a chest infection, but hockey is perfect for her.
“I approached her school – St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School – and they agreed for me to do some hockey training after school. I started with just years five and six, but I also do years three and four now. I have
almost 30 pupils now and five of those are now members of Preston Hockey Club.
“The aim is to encourage pupils to come and try the sport and to support the more experienced players to compete in tournaments. I want to prove that if someone like Phoebe can manage this sport, others can, too.”
Sharron and Phoebe are now organising CF – A Game of Life under-12s charity hockey tournament at Preston Hockey Club on Sunday, September 9, from 10.30am until 4pm.
The tournament will feature seven-a-side teams in competitive and non-competitive games, with all funds raised going towards Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
There will also be stalls selling cakes, a beat the goalie activity and a raffle.
Entry is £5, £2 for spectators and £10 for a family ticket. To register email email@example.com.
Sharron adds: “Phoebe has been sponsored by hockey stick supplier KABO, based in Kent, who are also passionate about bringing the game to school children and helping them benefit from sport.
“The company shirt sponsor is Next Goal Wins and Nuffield Health is supporting us with a warm-up by their personal trainers.”
Phoebe says: “I will not let my condition stop me from doing anything, especially hockey.
”Having cystic fibrosis involves at least an hour of exercise a day and it can be challenging but it’s what I need to do to be healthy. I do lots of breathing exercises, physio and I use a machine called the I-neb, which gives me different medicines which helps my lungs to reduce the mucus on my chest.
“Even with all that going on I still set myself challenges like climbing Ben Nevis and Snowdon. I am glad to say I got to the summit on both mountains.
“My entire life is revolved around sport. Also during lesson time at school I need chocolate, crisps and things like that. Children in my class say it’s unfair, but they don’t realise what I go through at home and at the hospital.
“I know deep down I’m not normal and I do try to be like any other child but who I am can never change. A lot of people ask what’s the hardest thing and that is not being able to breathe like any other person. At school I did struggle with my tablets, but I also had lots of supportive teachers around me who helped me feel normal and not left out when I couldn’t do something because of germs.
“My favourite exercise is hockey and my dream be to become a famous hockey player. Playing hockey makes me feel normal like I don’t have a condition.
“I will never let my condition control my life and hopefully one day I will be the first cystic fibrosis girl to play for England. Hockey is my life and always will be.”