Six-year-old climbing top of Mount Kilimanjaro for spinal accidents charity

0
50

A

Six-year-old boy has climbed almost the same height of Kilimanjaro to help a charity that supports people with spinal cord injuries.

Cian Paton, from Salisbury in Wiltshire, has climbed 17,389ft of Mount Kilimanjaro’s 19,000ft since he first began tackling Britain’s highest peaks in June 2021.

Cian, who has raised more than £700 in total for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), plans to complete the challenge on May 1 by taking on 2,906ft Pen-y-Fan in Wales.

He was inspired by his father Christopher, who climbs the real Kilimanjaro to support Manchester Arena bombing survivor Martin Hibbert – a cause which has already raised more than £410,000 in donations to the SIA.

Mr Paton, 40, told the PA news agency: “The reaction people are giving to Cian as we move on is heartwarming to see.

Cian Paton has only one climb left – Wales’ Pen-y-Fan (Christopher Paton)

“Giving him high fives … I heard several people say, ‘Well, he does it, that means we can do it.’

“And Cian said he would hate it if other people weren’t able to do what he can do – that’s where the money raised can go towards helping people do those things.”

Mr Paton, a spine nurse, has joined a group of 11 to raise £1million for the SIA.

The Martin’s Mountain campaign is named after Mr. Hibbert, who suffered spinal cord paralysis in the 2017 bombing.

Mr. Hibbert will accompany Mr. Paton on the seven-day journey to the summit in early June – aided by a specially adapted mountain trike – to assist those facing similar life-changing spinal injuries.

Mr Paton said: “I explained to Cian that other people can’t do that – there are people who have problems in their lives that prevent them from doing those things.

“I think that was what spurred him on.”

Christopher Paton will tackle the real Mount Kilimanjaro in early June (Nathan Young)

The youngster is looking to raise £2,500 through Cian’s Climb which will go towards the Martin’s Mountain fund for the SIA as part of the #MY19 challenge.

The online challenge is to encourage people to do any form of outdoor activity for 19 minutes or to incorporate the number 19 in some way.

Cian, who is often accompanied by his mum Susan and four-year-old brother Ronan, has climbed six UK peaks so far, including 3,560ft Snowdon last year and 1,759ft Fairy Castle in Dublin – but his favorites have been Glyder Fawr and Glyder Fach in North Wales because of it “all the rocks you can climb”.

He added: “When I was doing the Glyders there was snow up there, it was so cold.

“It was actually pretty tough, but it was my favorite.”

Christopher Paton joins Martin Hibbert and 10 others on the trip to summit Kilimanjaro in June for the Martin’s Mountain campaign (Nathan Young)

Cian even had the opportunity to present flowers to the Princess Royal – a patron of the SIA – after climbing Snowdon last year.

His father said: “We went to Fortnum & Mason in London and he met Princess Anne.

“I’ve gone through all the things he shouldn’t be doing — you know, don’t pick his nose, all that stuff.

“Then he stood there with his hands in his pockets the whole time because I forgot to mention: don’t put your hands in your pockets.

“But she said, ‘I have to hold you because I’m riding.'”

Mr Paton said the challenge is “to give people with spinal cord injuries the opportunity to have a level playing field with people without spinal cord injuries”.

Cian said he wants to be an explorer when he grows up (Christopher Paton)

“There are so many things you can’t do with a spinal injury, and it’s not about climbing mountains or learning to rappel,” he said.

“It goes to this shop that has a step.”

Mr Paton said Cian even has his sights set on a record with his climbing, with the long-term goal of becoming an explorer when he grows up.

“We looked at the three peaks (challenge) and the youngest person to do it is seven,” he explained.

“Cian said, ‘Oh, we could do it while I’m six.’

“(We) are super proud of Cian.”

To donate to Cian’s Climb go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cians-Climb.