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Warden Bay: Mum Cheryl Fenton abseils down tallest building in Portsmouth for son Dylan

By Chloe Holmwood

A mother abseiled down the tallest structure in Portsmouth to raise money for her son who is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Cheryl Fenton, from Warden Bay, made her leap of faith from the 170-metre Spinnaker Tower on Saturday in an effort to take 11-year-old Dylan to Disney, Florida.

Dylan has Neurofibromatosis, a genetic neurological disorder that can affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves and skin.

Cheryl Fenton abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Cheryl Fenton abseiling down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

He has had five operations and has to take medication daily to control his condition.

However, on March 10, doctors discovered a large tumour on his brain stem and he had to undergo a 13-and-a-half-hour operation to have it removed on April 12 – a date which Cheryl, 43, says is now etched on her mind.

“The journey that my warrior has had since has been one full of strength and bravery, numerous CT scans, MRIs, swabs, blood tests, hospital stays, infections and, even, two lumbar punctures, one of which was truly horrific,” she said.

“He is still recovering but fighting all the way through, with intense physiotherapy and support for his eyesight, which was affected due to the severe brain swelling and the surgery.”

Cheryl Fenton with son Dylan, 11
Cheryl Fenton with son Dylan, 11

She added: “The reason I wanted to raise money and to do this abseil is to uphold a promise.

“It is for one of two promises I made my baby as he cried in my arms, scared for his future and scared for his life, after receiving his diagnosis.

“The first was easy and that was to hold his hand for the entire journey. But the second was that I would make one dream of his come true, just one dream, any dream, and Dylan said he would love to visit Disneyland in America.”

The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
The Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

On Saturday, Cheryl abseiled 100 metres with her partner Paul Holbrook. “It was extremely scary, but amazing all rolled into one,” she said. “We’ve now raised a great amount towards Dylan’s Disney fund and also for his surgeon so it was definitely worth it.

“Dylan couldn’t come down and watch, unfortunately, but he has had a good laugh at my GoPro footage.”

So far, Cheryl has raised £1,295 of her £1,000 target. Anything extra will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Dylan’s surgeon’s special MRI unit.

To donate, click here.

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