Ryan leads St Thomas’ challenge in memory of dad

Ryan leads St Thomas’ challenge in memory of dad

Nine-year-old Ryan has inspired his whole school, St Thomas’ CE Primary Academy, to get involved in a month-long burpee challenge in memory of his dad.

Ryan Booth and his 12-year-old sister Phoebe, from Kidsgrove, have taken up the fundraising feat to mark what would have been their father Rob’s 40th birthday. He died aged just 35 from Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

Now the siblings start each day with a series of burpees – squat thrusts and jumps – and have set their sights on completing 2,000 of them by the end of February.

Ryan has also enlisted the help of other pupils at St Thomas’ CE Primary Academy, in Kidsgrove.

He will be handing out award certificates to them at the end of the challenge. Children who do 1,000 burpees altogether will have averaged 36 a day, although they can also aim for lower targets between 250 and 750.

Ryan said: “It feels good to get the whole school involved.”

The keen young footballer – a member of Port Vale’s under-nines development team – will even be doing burpees pitch-side when Vale play Stevenage on February 26. And he hopes to get his other team, Kidsgrove Athletic, behind the efforts too.

All the proceeds will be going to the Bone Cancer Research Trust, which supports families, funds research and raises awareness of the devastating disease.

It’s a cause close to Ryan’s heart as his dad was diagnosed with cancer in October 2015 and died on February 8, 2017. He would have turned 40 on January 26 this year.

Ryan said: “My dad would have been happy if he knew I was doing this.”

Phoebe, a student at The King’s CE Academy, in Kidsgrove, also wanted to do something in his memory. She said: “He was quite funny and a really nice man.”

So far, she has completed around 500 burpees. But Ryan has powered past 1,000 – with half a month still to go.

He said: “I started on February 1. I do them in the morning before school and some after school.”

The burpees challenge is overseen by the Bone Cancer Research Trust, with each participant given a chart to tick off their exercise.