21.Apr.12 New racing wheelchair for young Marathon fundraiser
11-year-old Lydia Cross, the inspirational young fundraiser from North Devon who lost both legs to meningitis when she was two, will be the first person to receive a racing wheelchair through Rotary’s Wheel Appeal with the charity WheelPower.
The Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) Young Citizen Award 2010 winner will be testing out her new set of wheels by taking it for a test run in the London Mini Marathon this Sunday.
Lydia is usually seen taking part in events using her running blades but she has taken up wheelchair racing in the past few months and the three-mile Mini-Marathon for 11 to 17 year olds will be her second wheelchair race. Through her determined efforts, she has raised more than £65,000 for Help for Heroes, becoming the only Child Patron for the charity, and for the Royal British Legion.
She will receive her racing wheelchair ahead of the London Mini-Marathon at Rotary in London Headquarters where Mike Thorn, coordinator of Rotary Wheel Appeal, will be joined by the Chief Executive of WheelPower, Martin McElhatton, and Disability Athletics Suport Officer Job King from England Athletics.
The £3,000 to fund the wheelchair was raised by Rotarians from around Great Britain and Ireland who joined the chief executive of Wheelpower in a sponsored parallel relay around a hotel in Birmingham during a national RIBI event in March. Lydia is aiming to raise £6,000 by taking part in the London Mini-Marathon for both H4H and the WheelPower charity. The charity aims to buy 2012 racing chairs so that other people with disabilities can compete and is being supported by many Rotary clubs.
Jodie Cross, Lydia’s mother, said: “Lydia wants to donate half of what she raises on Sunday to WheelPower so that another child with disabilities can benefit from a racing wheelchair like she has and the other half will go to Help for Heroes.”
WheelPower Chief Executive Martin McElhatton said: “We are delighted that Lydia is getting her racing wheelchair. This is the first wheelchair that is being presented as part of the Wheel Appeal. We hope she enjoys the London Mini-Marathon.”
District Governor-Elect for Rotary in London, Eve Conway, who is on RIBI's Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said: “Lydia is a truly inspirational youngster who has raised so much for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion. We are delighted that she is receiving the first racing wheelchair through the Rotary Wheel Appeal. It just shows how amazing she is that she wants to raise money during the London Mini-Marathon so that she can give back and provide the opportunity for another youngster with disabilities to also receive a racing wheelchair.”
Lydia was introduced to wheelchair racing after GB coach Job King approached the family to ask if Lydia was interested in athletics. “He suggested Lydia tried wheelchair racing after he came down from Coventry to see Lydia on her blades running but as she was waiting to have surgery on her legs to have the bones trimmed again, it was quite painful for her,” explained Jodie.
With the support of North Devon Athletics Club, Lydia has been training through the winter with both blades and racing chair. Last weekend, she and sister Mollie competed for the first time at an athletics meeting in Plymouth. Lydia ran 100 metres on her blades in 19.2 seconds, as well as completing the wheelchair 100M and 200M in 25.4 and 50.2 seconds, winning three gold medals in the process. Sister Millie also achieved second in the Vortex throw.
Anyone who would like to sponsor Lydia can go to www.justgiving.com/Lydia-Cross.
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