Burpees challenge raises more than £1,000 for children with heart defects

By Aimee McKenna

A STRENUOUS challenge is being completed by a Denton man to raise awareness and funds for a charity that specialises in helping children affected by heart defects and their families.

The cause is very close to Johnathon Roe, 33, and his wife Emma, who lost her son Riley after he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome almost 13 years ago.

Johnathon set himself a challenge in aid of Little Hearts Matter and started more than 300 days ago with the aim of completing 66,795 burpees in total.

He started on one burpee and added one more each day so he will eventually finish on 365 – and cannot miss a single day.

Johnathon Roe

Little Hearts Matter is the only charity in the UK that is dedicated to supporting children and their families affected by the diagnosis of a single ventricle heart condition (half a working heart).

The condition affects 1 in 5,000 children who from the moment they are born have undergo major heart surgery and can have a total of three major operations to get the heart functioning.

“The hospital didn’t offer much in terms of information on available charities that could help, leaving Emma feeling isolated and alone. It’s a lot to take in at 20 years old,” Johnathon said.

He added it would mean a great deal to them just to be able to raise awareness and give the charity a bigger platform so if anyone else is going through something similar, they can get the help they need.

“We never set out to do the challenge to raise money, it was just a bit of a challenge we decided we would do to get fit,” explained Johnathon, who shares two young daughters with Emma.

“When I told people what we were going to do, no one believed that we could do it.”

Johnathon with his family

It was at this point they decided it would also be a great way to raise money, because of the mental and physical difficulty of the challenge.

His wife and a friend started the challenge too but were unable to do them every day, so Johnathon took over.

“Having to do the burpees every day, regardless of how you feel, is definitely the most difficult part,” he said.

“The challenge has continued to get more and more difficult and the final two months will see me complete over 20,000 burpees.

“I had a figure of around £2,000 as I didn’t want to be ambitious, but if we could break that mark, and some, it would be incredible.

“I am already amazed at people’s generosity. This is the first time I have ever done anything to raise money for charity, and it does give you a good feeling knowing that you are helping people.”

So far, they have raised just over £1,000. You can support Johnathon in his charity challenge by donating at https://tinyurl.com/2p8za98h

Johnathon also has an Instagram page where he uploads his videos of his burpees each day:

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