A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD from Larkhill is on a mission to race around the moon to support his seriously ill brother.

Harry Byrne, captured hearts earlier this year when he took on a 50-mile hike for Julia’s House children’s hospice in Wiltshire and Naomi House & Jacksplace in Hampshire, who care for his younger brother Reuben.

Three month challenge 

Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, he has decided to venture much further with his fundraising and hopes to complete the 6786-mile distance around the moon in just three months - starting from today (Saturday July 31).

As well as leading three fancy dress walks past Stonehenge on the full moon days of August 22 and October 20, the St Michael’s C of E Primary School pupil plans to clock up the miles by climbing mountains, running with his football friends and lots more.

“We’re beyond proud of Harry,” said mum Sophie.

“He has such a special bond with Reuben. He’ll put his arms out wide and tell him, 'I love you around the moon and back', and Reuben will always give Harry his biggest smiles."

Rare condition 

Two-year-old Reuben was born with a condition that causes his brain to deteriorate – which is so rare it does not have a name yet.

There are fewer than 20 recorded cases worldwide.

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PICTURE: The Byrne family - mum Sophie with Reuben, dad Sean with baby Felix and Harry

The boys’ older sister Olivia died from the same condition when she was just eight months old.

“Reuben has hugely complex needs and needs round-the-clock care from someone who’s trained to look after him,” explains Sophie.

“It can be incredibly tiring for us. So when the Julia’s House nurses come into our home to give us those respite care breaks, it means we can switch off a little, and have peace of mind that Reuben’s in safe and loving hands."

“Reuben can have up to 10 seizures a day and it’s scary because it’s always in the back of your mind – is this one the last? He had one outside the school gates recently and Harry rushed straight away to get his brother’s oxygen for me. He stroked his head and was telling him, 'It’s okay Reu Reu, it’s okay',” said Sophie.

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PICTURE: Harry Byrne cuddles baby brother Felix and little brother Reuben 

“He’s just amazing with him and they’re both so brave. I think that’s what’s going to break our hearts the most when Reuben does pass away because they love each other so much.”

£4k fundraising target

Harry hopes his challenge will raise £4,000 for Julia’s House children’s hospice and Naomi House & Jacksplace to help provide vital care for seriously ill children like his brother.

He wants to take Reuben out in his buggy for as many moon miles as he can.

'An absolute star'

Nicky Clack, Fundraising Administrator for Julia’s House, said: “Harry’s an incredible big brother and he’s been an absolute star this year in raising funds and awareness for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

"He’s making a huge difference at such a young age for so many local children and families who depend on our care. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Harry for racing around the moon, and bon voyage on his cosmic adventure.”

How you can support Harry 

To show your support for Harry and make a donation click here.

Harry’s ‘A race around the moon’ challenge starts today (Saturday July 31).

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