Dad’s 100-mile walk to raise money for teenage son who tragically died of cellular disorder

A Burscough dad who tragically lost his teenage son to a cellular disorder is gearing up for a 100 mile walk to raise funds for the charity that helped him.

Stephen Hardman lost his beloved son, Christopher, aged 17, in November 2020 after he had been diagnosed with mitochondrial disorder only 18 months previously. The condition, which means the body’s cells do not produce enough energy and can cause a huge range of symptoms and disabilities, saw Chris being treated in places including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and specialist centers all over the country before he sadly passed away at Claire House Children’s Hospice on the Wirral.

Chris’s mum, Natalie Hardman, is now working at Rainbow Hub, a specialist Conductive Education center in Mawdesley which helped Chris throughout his years of living with the condition. Meanwhile, dad Stephen is preparing to walk 100 miles from Harrogate to Bowness to raise funds for the charity.

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Stephen, 53, is set to undertake the huge challenge with his friend, Darren Sephton,55, of Wigan, from Tuesday, June 21 to Sunday, June 26, and are hoping to raise money for the charity that helped Chris throughout his life. The intrepid pair, who have set a target of £2000, have both taken part in personal challenges before, with Steve doing the 250-mile Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland whilst Darren has done the 60 mile walk from Wigan to Leeds and the Great North Run.



Intrepid friends Darren Sephton and Stephen Hardman who are preparing to walk 100 miles next week to raise money for Rainbow Hub, the charity that helped Stephen’s late son, Christopher Hardman

Steve said, “Christopher was such a special young person who was loved by many. His memory lives on in everyone who knew him and enjoyed spending time with him. We are doing this walk to raise funds for Rainbow Hub, the fantastic charity who helped Chris throughout his life.”

His wife, Natalie, and Chris’s mum, told Lanes Live: “Steve’s been doing 25 mile walks at the weekend, so I’m so used to him training for walks now, I don’t even think about it! Chris liked being out amongst people… but he liked to walk where there were lots of people to stop and talk to. He did like being outdoors and being with other people. He was very sociable, very chatty, loved dogs and babies, and he just liked to have fun and make people laugh.”

Natalie, who became a parent support worker at Rainbow Hub in September last year, added: “We miss our son Chris so much – he was such a character. I am very proud of Steve and Daz for taking on this challenge in Chris’s memory. We want to do all that we can to help the charity and the children and families they support.”



Natalie Hardman, of Burscough, pictured with her late son, Christopher Hardman
Natalie Hardman, of Burscough, pictured with her late son, Christopher Hardman

In a statement on the Go Fund Me page, they added: “In late 2020 we lost one of the brightest stars in the night sky. Christopher was such a special young person who was loved by many. His memory lives on in everyone who knew him and enjoyed spending time with him. ”

Rainbow Hub provides therapeutic services for children and young people with physical and neurological disabilities. Since 2001 they have supported as many as 85 families per week, helping children to reach their full potential and gain more independence through fun, hands-on activities, while giving parents the support they deserve.

The organization offers a hugely diverse range of services aimed at improving the physical, social and emotional well-being of children with complex needs, as well as reducing the stress and isolation of their families. For more information on Rainbow Hub, click here. If you would like to support Steve and Daz in their challenge, click here.

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