Jane's Challenging Wheelchair Trek for Charity

Over lush green peaks and on hard, rocky paths, Jane Henderson is set to roll an epic nine miles across the Malvern Hills ridge in her all-terrain wheelchair next month, to raise money for Church Army.

The determined 52-year-old, from St John’s Church in Hinckley, is tackling the End to End ‘walk’ in her wheelchair to demonstrate just what we can achieve in life, despite limitations, and with the strength of God and support of family and friends.       

Jane has been in a wheelchair since September 2005, following an operation to remove a tumour from her spinal cord in her neck, which left her with an incomplete spinal cord injury, affecting her upper body strength, arms, and legs.

In preparation for this challenge, she has been rigorously training her upper body at the gym, incorporating strength and cardio exercises like swimming, adapted yoga, and Pilates to build stamina and resilience.

Jane says: “While I can’t run a marathon like everyone else, this wheelchair trek is my equivalent—an opportunity to push myself and demonstrate what’s possible.
“I want people to understand that this is a significant challenge for me. Being in a wheelchair with a weak upper body has required me to train extra hard for this journey and it’s my chance to prove that obstacles won’t stop me.”

Jane works as a Faith Empowerment Development Officer for Church Army, promoting and delivering resources and training in Evangelism, including encouraging people to be more confident in sharing their faith.

Church Army’s missional work involves assisting marginalised groups - from homeless women and youth, to victims of knife crime and struggling families - by sharing faith through practical actions.

“I feel called to work with Church Army and part of that is supporting our work and raising funds,” explains Jane. “I’ve witnessed first-hand the impact of their initiatives in helping people facing real crises, offering both practical and spiritual support.”

The trek is also an opportunity for Jane for meet her own spiritual needs, as well as provide loving service of the world.
“I have always wanted to do a pilgrimage walk but know this would be very difficult as they are often not accessible, so for me this is similar,” she says. “As I journey, I will be able to pray and reflect on God’s wonderful creation, but also on myself, and how God is enabling me to do this.”

Thinking about her tremendous physical feat, Jane says she feels safe in God’s unfailing love.
“I know that Jesus will be walking alongside me,” she says. “These words of a verse from the hymn, May the Mind of Christ, My Saviour, have always meant a lot to me – ever since I heard them in hospital when I had the surgery that put me in the wheelchair:
‘May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe, looking only unto Jesus, as I onward go.’
“Knowing that Jesus will help me with all my challenges is important to me - that, and knowing my Christian family are supporting me in this.”
Jane will also be listening to her ‘exercise praise’ playlist, and looking to the Bible passage, Hebrews 12:1-2, to see her through.

Peter Rouch, CEO of Church Army, says: “As an organisation committed to empowering individuals to overcome challenges through faith and action, we are incredibly inspired by Jane’s determination and courage.
“Her decision to take on this challenging wheelchair fundraiser embodies the spirit of resilience and hope that we strive to cultivate through our work, outreach and within our communities. We are proud to stand behind her and cheer her on this journey.”

For more information about Jane's journey, and to make a donation, visit: www.justgiving.com/page/jane-henderson-1708511069914

For more information about the work of Church Army, visit www.churcharmy.org

First published on: 18th April 2024
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