WHILE most of his friends’ grandads are winding down for retirement, Joshua’s is preparing to climb a mountain for him.
Eight-year-old Joshua Howard-Glass suffers from the life-shortening disease cystic fibrosis (CF) and though his grandad, Philip Glass is 66, he says nothing will stop him completing gruelling challenges to raise vital funds.
The determined fitness fanatic is gearing up to tackle Mount Snowdon with a group of men half his age in the hope of finding a cure for the devastating illness.
“My grandsons mean everything to me,” he said.
“Joshua is on my mind morning, noon and night and I want do all I can.”
Philip with his grandsons Joshua, eight, and Harrison, six.
Joshua was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was just two weeks old.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disorder affecting 10,000 people in the UK. It causes the body to produce a thick mucus which blocks the lungs, leaving sufferers vulnerable to infections and breathing difficulties.
He undergoes physio and takes about 30 tablets every day as well as regular hospital appointments.
His mum Jo, explains: “It was very scary. I’d never heard of it before so it was a big shock to us all.
“You just have to try to keep positive about the future and finding a cure especially because Joshua has always been so accepting.”
Heartbroken by the diagnosis, Philip, who has completed more than 20 marathons and an 80-mile trek, felt helpless until he realised he could use his experience of taking on gruelling physical challenges to help his grandson.
Today the sporty grandad-of-two, who lives in Southampton city centre, is a role model for Joshua who despite his condition, enjoys sport including football and swimming to keep his lungs strong.
Philip has so far completed the New Forest half marathon for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, while mum Jo has run a marathon raising more than £5,000 for the charity.
And today Philip even finds time to go to the gym three times a week and complete training walks with his son Paul around his full-time job.
He will be joined by eight others for his latest challenge on September 13 when they aim to climb the mountain in one day.
Mum Jo pictured with her two sons, Philip and Andy Orritt
Philip, said: “I’m not interested in any glory for myself. When we climb the mountain, I won’t stop thinking of Joshua and reaching the peak will be a very emotional moment for me.
“I’m definitely not the sort of person to sit around but now I'm even more determined to keep doing anything I can because I would love to see a cure for it. I will always try to think of a way to continue fundraising.”
To support Philip and the team go to: virginmoneygiving.com/team/SnowdonTreckers
For more information on Cystic Fibrosis go to cysticfibrosis.org.uk