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Keagan's brave challenge
THE determination and courage of an eight-year-old boy has seen him complete a charity golf challenge, despite the odds being stacked against him.
Keagan Stenner suffers from hydrocephalus, dyspraxia, hearing loss, joint pain and the extreme lethargy condition narcolepsy but he still completed nine holes to raise funds for the John McNeill opportunity centre in Salisbury.
Last year, the centre for children with special needs had its funding reduced by 13 per cent, forcing the nursery to cut staff and find £20,000 a year just to break even.
Keagan, who used to attend the centre and whose three-year-old brother Rio still goes there, was determined to help.
With the support of his parents Donna Strand and Lee Stenner, he launched Keagan’s Challenge, aiming to raise £2,000 for the centre.
His golf challenge, held at Rushmore Park on Thursday, has already raised £1,100 and money is still coming in.
Keagan’s condition means he can fall asleep at any time and he needed three naps during his golfing challenge.
He also overcame severe discomfort and tiredness to finish all nine holes.
“There was a time towards the last hole when we feared he wouldn’t make it, but he was so determined to keep going,” said Ms Strand.
“We were so proud of him. He’s such a strong character, and we were all very emotional once he’d finished.”
Keagan, who attends Sixpenny Handley School, is golf mad and has regular lessons.
“He’s been on a driving range but never a proper golf course before so that was an amazing experience for him,” said Ms Strand. “Now he’s even more keen on golf.”
Keagan’s parents noticed his progress was slow and he tired quickly when he was a baby.
In January 2011 a scan revealed he had life-threatening hydrocephalus and needed brain surgery to fit a shunt to relieve the pressure.
“The John McNeill centre was a lifeline for us,” said Ms Strand. “They taught him how to communicate, and it’s thanks to them he can go to a mainstream school.
“They are wonderful for Rio too – it’s just a shame more children who need to go can’t go there because of the funding.
“But we’re not going to stop here. Keagan is determined to raise his £2,000 and we’ve got ideas for lots more fundraisers.
“It’s all inspired by Keagan – behind that smile he’s been through so much and we are all incredibly proud of him.”
To support Keagan visit justgiving.com/Keagans-Challenge.
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