She is doing a series of challenges to help make boy's life easier

HE IS confined to a wheelchair, and all she wants to do is run.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 26th February 2016, 6:00 am
Joe Rush training with Janet Watts 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160362-3671)
Joe Rush training with Janet Watts Picture: Sarah Standing (160362-3671)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy sufferer Joe Rush, 13, and Janet Watts, have a friendship based on the power of kindness.

Janet is undertaking a major run every two weeks to raise money for Joe.

The 38-year-old said: ‘About three years ago I injured my thigh in the Great South Run. I spent a month on crutches and seven with a limp.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Joe Rush with his mum Annette and brother and sister Elliot and Emily Picture: Sarah Standing (160362-3658)

‘I was crawling the walls it was so frustrating.

‘Joe would give anything he has to be able to stand up and walk. I can, so I wanted to pay it forward and do something to help.’

Janet, from Portchester, started doing half-marathons last September, and will continue doing two runs a month until December.

She also plans to run her first full marathon in April in Brighton and a 38-mile ultra-marathon in October.

Joe Rush with his mum Annette and brother and sister Elliot and Emily Picture: Sarah Standing (160362-3658)

Janet is even planning two runs for June, in the lead-up to her wedding at the end of the month, and another just days after she gets back from her honeymoon in July.

She hopes to raise £10,000 for Joe, who lives in Petersfield.

She said: ‘I’m paying all the running fees myself so everything I raise will go directly to Joe, and every penny will make a difference.

‘I’ve had a lot of individual donations which is great, but I would love it if there were any business out there who might be willing to sponsor me.

‘I’ll even run in a chicken suit – anything to help raise money.’

Janet said she thought the full marathon would be the biggest challenge.

‘I’ve never done one before so I’m going into it not knowing how it will affect my body.’

Joe was diagnosed in 2007 when he was five. He used to love football, riding his bike and swimming, but the muscle-wasting condition has meant he has got weaker each year.

Joe fell and fractured his spine in February last year, and he went from being able to walk around the house to not being able to walk at all and having to rely on his family for everything.

Joe’s mum Annette Rush, 39, said: ‘From day one we have had a battle with the authorities to fund equipment, to seek suitable accommodation, to get the right school for him, and to find funds to get a vehicle that can take his wheelchair.

‘Its has been horrendous, soul destroying and incredibly expensive.’

Annette said she was thrilled with Janet’s efforts.

She said: ‘We were blown away when Janet said she would like to do something for Joe.

‘It makes all the difference – raising much-needed funds that are helping us to get a wheelchair-accessible car for Joe, or different kinds of hoisting equipment.’

Joe’s fundraising page is at and Janet keeps updates about her fundraising on her Facebook page ‘Hope For Joe’.