Raising awareness gives Sarah a mountain to climb

At the top of Ben Nevis
At the top of Ben Nevis

Ever since her five-year-old son Matthew was diagnosed with autism in 2013, Stopsley mum Sarah Behrens has been dedicated to raising awareness about the condition.

Last year she shaved her head for the National Autistic Society and this year she climbed Ben Nevis in aid of Families United Network, a Dunstable charity supporting disabled and special needs youngsters and their families.

Sarah, 37, a Sainsbury’s store trainer, describes the organisation as a lifeline. She said: “There are still so many misconceptions about autism which is astonishing in this day and age.

“Each and every child with autism is unique and special in their own way. Given the right level of support, they can thrive as well as any other child.”

She’s full of praise for Richmond Special Needs School in Luton where Matthew is a pupil and says the staff - especially Matthew’s class teacher Ian Torrie – are “fantastic.”

The mother-of-two joined a gym, bought a bike and signed up for body pump and zumba classes to prepare for the climb on Saturday (October 4).

“The ascent took four hours,” she said. “But the toughest bit was coming back down. I underestimated how tired I’d be. And the rocks were slippery with the rain. The weather was also so changeable – one minute boiling hot and the next freezing cold. But we had a lovely view from the summit.”

Sarah’s having a break before thinking about her next fundraising venture. “I’m sitting tight for now,” she smiled. “I don’t think people will want me tapping them for sponsorship for a while.”

If you’d like to donate, go to her Local Giving page, localgiving.com/sarahbehrens