Top trampolinist backs Worthing girl

A GORING girl’s trampolining success has attracted the attention of gold medallist Amanda Parker.

Six-year-old Imogen Jones celebrates gaining first place
Six-year-old Imogen Jones celebrates gaining first place

Six-year-old Imogen Jones, who has cystic fibrosis, finished first in the under-sevens category of a competition organised by Worthing-based Sussex Martlets Trampoline Club.

Proud of Imogen’s victory, parents Joanne and Neil Jones were even more delighted when Great British trampolinist Amanda, who won gold at the 2013 World Games and is in the running for the Rio 2016 Olympics, shared a post about Imogen’s success on her official Facebook page.

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Amanda said: “An amazing way to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis. Well done to six-year-old Imogen!”

Joanne and Neil with children Imogen, Archie and Zachary

The trampolinist is backing The Strawfie Challenge, a social media campaign started by Crawley singer annaJo, who also has cystic fibrosis. It asks people to try breathing through a narrow straw for 60 seconds while pinching their nose, then post a ‘Strawfie’ picture.

Inspired by Amanda’s Strawfie, the Jones family, of The Avenue, have made it their mission to spread the campaign across Sussex, starting with Sussex Martlets Trampoline Club.

Joanne said: “I came across the campaign when a friend tagged me in on a Facebook post showing Amanda Parker taking the challenge.

“The trampoline connection resonated with me because Imogen does four hours plus of trampolining each week. Bouncing is excellent physiotherapy for people with cystic fibrosis.”

Imogen was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was four, soon after her younger brother, Zachary, was found to have the life-limiting disease through a heel prick test at five weeks old.

Joanne said: “As certain things were explained to us, it dawned on us that it was possible that Imogen had cystic fibrosis as well. She was tested along with our other son, Archie.

“Thankfully Archie was clear, although we had no concerns about him prior to the testing, but our suspicions about Imogen were verified when the tests showed that she also had cystic fibrosis. Obviously both diagnoses were a terrible blow.”

Cystic fibrosis is a life-shortening genetic condition that causes the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, to become clogged with thick sticky mucus, resulting in chronic infections and inflammation of the lungs.

Over the past two years, the family has adapted to the regime of antibiotics, vitamins, physiotherapy, clinic visits and hospitalisations required to keep a person with cystic fibrosis healthy.

Julie Belchamber, who runs Sussex Martlets, said: “To get those comments from someone like Amanda, who is at the top of her game, is an amazing inspiration to Imogen and her brothers, who will follow her with trampoline lessons.

“It is so important for young children with CF to get that boost, that inspiration to keep them exercising and help them to stay healthy.”

The Jones family are now taking on fundraising and awareness challenges, with Imogen starting the ball rolling in style by securing that first place in the Sussex Martlets trampoline competition and getting the 45 people who attended to complete The Strawfie Challenge.

Joanne said: “This is something that absolutely anyone can take part in. It only takes a few minutes to do something good and really help the 10,000 plus people in the UK who have this terrible disease.”

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