Harry Coughlan: Local fundraiser defies cancer and disability in 'amazing' charity climbing challenge
PUBLISHED: 17:45 27 December 2018
Muswell Hill man Harry Coughlan has pulled off a remarkable charitable feat - despite his ongoing recovery from testicular cancer and a learning disability, he raised more than £800 to help build a local children's hospice.
Harry went to The Castle Climbing Centre in Hackney, where he has climbed regularly over the past year, with Will Rees from Magic Life, the company who run his supported living centre.
They then proceeded to try to complete as many climbs as possible within one hour.
Harry told this newspaper: “It’s been such a feat to raise this money, and I really enjoyed it, too.”
Harry explained why he had chosen the charity: “I found out about Noah’s Ark Charity as I am a big supporter of Tottenham Hotspur football club and they also support Noah’s Ark Charity. I like to help in the community and this was a great opportunity to do so.”
There are more than 1,200 babies and children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions in north and central London but, tragically, no children’s hospice building.
Climbing is particularly challenging for Harry as he has agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), which is a congenital disorder that means the right and left hemispheres of his brain are not connected, making co-ordination difficult.
Less than two years ago, Harry was diagnosed with testicular cancer, too.
His family said the exercise and fundraising had really helped his mental health in the aftermath of this.
Harry’s mum, former teacher Jill, told the Ham&High: “It’s really helped his recovery – the cancer really affected him.
“He loves volunteering and he’s a real fixture in the community, doing things like this, or volunteering all over the place – he’s been helping at Kentish Town City Farm for years!”
Jill, who has lived in Muswell Hill with Harry’s father John and their children for more than three decades, paid tribute to her son’s character.
“He springs back,” she said. “He’s very resilient, and if he wants to do something he will make sure he does it.”
Harry smashed his target with five successful ascents and coach Zoe Miles said: “It’s just been exciting. He’s so impressive.”