Having always enjoyed competitive sport, 2 years ago, I decided to challenge myself to have a go at a mini triathlon for a bit of fun. Although a confident swimmer and a slow but steady plodder of a runner, I hadn't ridden a bike since childhood and could certainly never have classed myself as a cyclist. I bought a bike, fell off it a few times, got back on it again and in May 2015, I took part my first ever triathlon, the Llanelli sprint. Every stroke, pedal turn and step of it was a challenge and I was so relieved to get to the finish line unscathed but .... I was hooked and haven't looked back since!
2 years on, I'm about to embark on the greatest sporting challenge of my life. An Ironman consists of a 2.4 mile sea swim, 112 miles on a bike, and a 26.2 mile marathon run and you have a maximum of 17 hours to complete the whole thing. Now, as if this is not challenge enough, I am doing Ironman Wales, known to be the hardest Ironman in the world due to the tides, relentlessly hilly bike course and a hilly marathon course.
But .... here is the reason that this feat is worth all the sacrifices, the gruelling training schedule, every bead of sweat, every aching muscle and every second of pain.
A number of young people with autism whom I support have been facing the huge additional challenge of fighting cancer. Through discussion with parents, the exceptional medical skills of the specialist teams treating their children is outstanding, however, the complex communication, social and sensory issues experienced by children with autism can be misunderstood or unknowingly neglected.
LATCH, Wales' Children's Cancer Charity provide support to children and their families through providing: accommodation for parents whilst children are in hospital, financial support to cover immediate needs, dedicated support workers, medical equipment and support to enable very sick children to spend as much time at home as possible, research projects and activities to boost morale and stimulate children.
Myself and Sarah, mum to 15 year old Ryan who is autistic and battling a rare and complex lymphoma, identified areas of autism awareness and practise that we feel could be developed to enable medical staff to address the different approaches which could help autistic children during their treatment. Sarah has approached LATCH who are very excited by the opportunity to develop this.
I will use the demonstration of bravery, determination, resilience and positivity that these young people and their families have shown in tackling the adversity that they are having to endure to keep me going and carry me every inch of that 140.6 miles in Tenby on the 10th September, 2017.
My goal is to raise £5,000 to kick start a project to promote autism awareness within specialist children's cancer teams. The aim is for staff to feel confident in utilising strategies to support the difficulties autistic children may face, further improving the understanding and care that these children receive at this frightening and stressful time.
Any contribution will be greatly appreciated so thank you for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
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