Young cystic fibrosis patients are being kept on the move in Sheffield – through a new health programme of intensive climbing sessions.
The adrenalin-pumping course – believed to be the first of its kind – was the idea of Matt Denton, a cystic fibrosis physiotherapist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, who wants to help his patients stay healthy, as well as giving families the chance to meet and learn new skills.
Matt said the sessions, running at the Foundry centre in Kelham Island, have been ‘great fun’ so far – while the programme has proved a big hit with youngsters.
Cystic fibrosis is an incurable genetic condition where the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus, gradually making it harder for sufferers to breathe.
Exercise is an important way of clearing the secretions caused by the disease.
Instructors from training specialists Eclipse IPD, as well as the Foundry, teach groups of parents climbing, rope and safety techniques.
Once parents are skilled, they can take their own children to the wall and teach them how to climb.
The whole initiative is funded by the Children’s Hospital Charity.
Matt said: “Climbing strengthens the upper body and works the lungs intensively in short bursts. More importantly, it’s great fun for children with and without cystic fibrosis – making it great for the families.”
Georgina and Marc Hodgson, from Adwick-le-Street, near Doncaster, are regular participants along with daughter Ella, seven, who has Cystic Fibrosis, and her brother Ryan, five, who is unaffected by the illness.
Georgina said: “Tackling the climbing wall is great fun and the kids love it.
“Ella took to it straight away and it’s great to see her enjoying herself, and it’s good for her health too.”