“Run For All really is for all.”
So says Kate Kelly who on Sunday will take part in the Arena Group Sheffield Mini and Junior Run with her 22-year-old daughter, Abbi, who was born with cerebral palsy and microcephaly.
Abbi is unable to walk or talk and will be pushed around the course in her wheelchair by Kate. They took part in last year’s event, which forms part of the Sheffield 10K, and are looking forward to once again taking their place on the start line.
Kate, who lives in Sheffield, said: “Abbi loved being pushed round a little faster than she is perhaps used to! Mummy is quite competitive and was determined that, despite her being in a wheelchair, she was not going to come last.
“Abbi just laughed a lot on the way round. I knew she was enjoying herself. She liked being amongst the other children because, although she is 22 years old chronologically, from a cognitive point of view, Abbi is still a small child and she will always be that way. Abbi also loved getting a medal of her own. I know she will be excited when we get to that start line on Sunday.”
Abbi’s cerebral palsy has worsened over the years and several years ago she was struggling with severe scoliosis – curvature of the spine. She underwent a nine-hour operation which, says Kate, completely transformed her life.
“Her spine was straightened using two titanium rods which now sit either side of her spine, to keep her in an upright position.
A common feature of people with cerebral palsy is hip displacement and Abbi has had 4 major operations on her left hip, which is now pinned and plated.”
Abbi also suffers from dysphagia which affects her ability to swallow. Due to the constant difficulties Abbi experienced with feeding, she is fed via a tube in her stomach.
Looking forward to Sunday, Kate said: “As the mother of a severely disabled young person, it is really important that these events remain as inclusive as possible because there are so many times we are left out or cannot access events that I would like to take Abbi to.
“Run for All really is for all. It was the first event I could actually take Abbi to and do with her, just like the other parents do with their children, perhaps on a regular basis. It is hard to describe the feeling you get, as a mother, when an activity is inaccessible to Abbi. The hurt that I feel inside for her is immense.
“Life with a disabled person can be isolating and lonely but this was the first time we could join in with everyone else; it was something we could do together and, for once, disability was not an issue. We didn’t have to take a different route, on our own, in order to negotiate the way; we weren’t made to feel different by having to start at the back of everyone else for fear we might hold up other people. We were right in there with everyone else, enjoying the atmosphere. We loved it.”