Deep in the heart of a 10-acre wood, among gardens and ponds, where dark towers and elemental sculpture loom, Jago Hartland is planning his next extraordinary adventure.

Come May, 20-year-old Jago will cycle 85 miles a day for four days, from Bristol to Paris, for the charity Above and Beyond, raising money for Bristol’s city centre hospitals.

This journey would be daunting for most of us, but for Jago, it has an additional difficulty: he has cystic fibrosis (CF), a potentially life-threatening condition.

His sister Millie died of CF before he was born, when she was just eight years old, and he has another four siblings, two of whom have CF too – but Jago is absolutely determined it will not stop him pursuing his dreams, and living a life of challenge and meaning.

“When dealing with health scares, I must look past it and keep going,” he explains. “I get scared as much as the next person, but I’m not going to let it scare the next person. We all have demons we are battling. Mine may be more apparent at times, yet I shall not let it get the better of me - my cystic fibrosis doesn’t define me.”

Jago grew up on what his family call the Land, at Somerford Keynes, which they bought as a field and have transformed into a wonderland of wood, garden and art. He comes from a family of people who follow their dreams and make a difference – his mum Serena Stevens set up the Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre and his father, David Hartland, created the Elemental Sculpture Park.

While the setting for Jago’s childhood was idyllic, his early life was blighted by ill health. He was born with a collapsed lung and spent his first Christmas in hospital, but did not get a diagnosis for his cystic fibrosis until he was 15.

He endured years of chest infections, stomach problems, and consequently attended school only half the time. Although he was tested for the condition as a baby, he had a mutant gene variety, which is why it was not picked up.

“I was in a running race at school, and I suffered a partially collapsed lung. I had had multiple chest problems, and finally they thought they would test me again.

“When I first got the diagnosis I laughed, and it was only later that I put all the evidence together and it made sense. At the start it was shock – then acceptance – it was the only way I was able to move forward.”

He adds: “I must move forward to benefit myself and others.”

His sister and brother were diagnosed at the same time, as teenagers, and he said that while they had each reacted very differently to the situation, he was determined to meet the challenge and turn it into something positive.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition, in which the lungs and digestive system can become clogged with thick, sticky mucus. It causes problems with breathing and digestion, and over many years, causes increasing damage to the lungs.

Although no cure exists for CF, treatments can help control the symptoms. Only about half the people with CF live past the age of 40 – though children born with the condition now are likely to live longer.

The NHS says most cases of cystic fibrosis in the UK are identified through screening tests carried out soon after birth. Around one in every 2,500 babies has the condition. It can cause recurring chest infections, difficulty gaining weight, frequent coughs, diarrhoea and shortness of breath. People with CF can also develop related conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis and liver problems.

Since his diagnosis, Jago says he has had four different infections, intravenous antibiotics, and once had his lungs cleaned out.

“After that, the difference was phenomenal – the first time I could properly breath,” he describes.

Jago uses a nebuliser twice a day, inhaling enzymes that help break down mucus, and he undertakes two hours of physiotherapy and exercise every day to keep himself as fit and healthy as possible, which helps manage the condition.

This involves using special breathing techniques, and a mixture of running, cycling, swimming or gym. He runs competitively, does kayaking and works for an independent travel company in the Himalayas – but he must work much harder than normal to maintain a high level of fitness. He has also recently adopted a vegan diet, which he says has benefited his health.

When he was 16, Jago decided to set himself an ambitious challenge. He chose to raise £1,000 a year for different charities.

The first year he undertook the Great South Run for the Starlight Foundation, then the World Challenge Expedition in Vietnam and Cambodia – where the group donated £1,000 to an orphanage – and last year he organised his own three peaks challenge, raising £1,700 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

“I want to prove to youngsters with CF what can be done, and I want to show other people what they can achieve too – if I can do it, you can,” he says.

Last year he also went trekking in the Himalayas, where he was offered a job by Mountain Tribal Vision, recruiting clients in England. He will return to the Himalayas at least once a year.

“Coping with my condition whilst taking on challenges and travelling has been very difficult,” he explains.

“At times I have needed to carry up to 5kg of extra weight for medication and equipment for multiple days.

“I have the constant threat of infection, especially foreign, whilst being away, as I learnt that the hard way in Vietnam in 2016 when I grew the pseudomonas infection.

“It certainly was a large knock to my health, taking down my lung function by 20 per cent in one week.

Travelling with CF has caused other complications based around diet, fatigue and not being able to do my physiotherapy.

“It has made all the challenges much harder, but I hope that it can help inspire others to pursue their goals, as I am able to pursue mine.

“Plus, not being able to keep regular bowel movements in a Vietnamese jungle whilst all the insects and animals are very interested in you is a memorable experience!”

Jago’s ambitions for the future involve trekking to the North Pole and climbing Mount Everest.

“Day to day, I have to keep my routine, keep healthy and inspire others.

“I have to stay healthy and fight, but I love working in the outdoors and having an impact,” he says.

To sponsor Jago for his Bristol to Paris ride, visit his webpage at