A Wigan mum who founded a charity in honour of her young son has been recognised with an award.
Alex Johnson, from Joining Jack, was given the Woman We Admire award by Esquire Middle East.
We got invited to the awards in Dubai and I found out I had won the award for Woman We Admire, which was totally not expectedAlex Johnson
She did not know she had been selected for the title until it was presented during a glittering awards ceremony in Dubai.
Alex and her family were visiting the Middle East for the Dubai Emirates Sevens rugby tournament.
Alex said she was “really touched and really surprised” to win the award.
She said: “It was quite unexpected. We got invited to the awards in Dubai and I found out I had won the award for Woman We Admire, which was totally not expected.”
Alex set up Joining Jack with her husband, former Wigan Warriors player Andy Johnson, after their son Jack, now eight, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The charity aims to find a cure for the life-limiting genetic disorder, which affects one in every 3,500 boys worldwide, and its fund-raising events include the popular Wigan 10k and the upcoming Run Wigan Festival.
Joining Jack has become known in Dubai for its involvement with the rugby sevens tournament, with a team made up of well-known former players.
The team reached the semi-final in this year’s competition and included former Wigan players such as new British Lions coach Andy Farrell, Wigan’s current general manager Kris Radlinski and Widnes’ head coach Denis Betts.
There was also a fund-raising lunch and a barbecue for Joining Jack during the trip to Dubai.
Alex said: “The Joining Jack team is one of the most loved teams in the tournament. People are constantly going up to Jack to take pictures and we take quite a high-profile team of ex-professional rugby players so there’s a lot of attention.
“We also have a local team who are amateurs and they play in a local league there. They are called the Joining Jack team and they do fund-raising events out in Dubai.”
Alex was one of the only women to be recognised at the Man At His Best Awards ceremony by men’s magazine Esquire.
A total of 19 awards were handed out on the night and the 500 guests included well-known Bollywood stars.
Jack and his brother James have already been proudly showing off her award.
Alex said: “The boys have show and tell at school and because dad didn’t win a trophy, they took mine into school instead!”
The award is currently on display at the family’s home and Alex said she will probably add it to a memory box for Jack.