Golden teenager Alex Kupse has notched up yet another achievement while battling a rare medical condition.
The 19-year-old, of Idle, Bradford, was collecting his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from Prince Philip at St James Palace in London today.
This summer he was chosen to be an Olympic Torchbearer due to his outstanding contribution to the community through his voluntary work – and proud mum Sophia said it was the Duke of Edinburgh scheme that started it all off.
Alex, who has Aspergers Syndrome, has never allowed his health to get in the way of achieving his goals – he was only days old when doctors discovered his organs were on the opposite side of his body. He spends four hours a day trampolining to help ease his PCD & Dextra Cardia Situs Inversus by preventing a build-up of mucous. It is a rare and inherited condition which can affect the lungs, sinuses and ears.
Mrs Kupse said keeping active and exercising has helped her son keep in good health and doctors at the chest clinic at St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, are amazed by him.
“They say he is the fittest patient with that condition they have ever seen and it’s all down to him exercising and keeping busy,” she said.
For his Gold DofE Award expedition he had to walk 24 miles for five days carrying an 80-litre backpack, camping out, building fires to keep warm and surviving on very little food. “It was in the Lake District but it looked like the Outback on the pictures but he saw it all through to the end,” Mrs Kupse said.
“Getting Gold was a fantastic achievement.”
Alex is now studying for a degree in countryside management at college in York and hopes to find work as a ranger or with the National Trust when he qualifies. He also spends time encouraging other teenagers to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
His mum said: “He’s not needed antibiotics for 15 months now which is exceptional. Infections could wipe him out, His condition could be fatal but he doesn’t let his health problems stop him from living life to the full – and inspiring others to keep active.”