A brave seven-year-old Cumbernauld pupil is set to take part in this month’s Cumbernauld 10k spectacular - thanks to a revolutionary one-wheeled chair.
Abbie Young has both spina bifida and hydrocephalus. which means she is unable to walk, but she will be piloting a pioneering all-terrain chair called a Joëlette.
This means she will be able to join her dad James and a team of volunteers in an event which could hardly be more important for them, as she will be raising funds for the charity Spina Hydrocephalus Scotland.
It provides the family with advice, weekly one-to-one support and an environment where James and Abbie’s mum Danielle can share their experiences with other families facing similar challenges.
The Joëlette allows people with disabilities or mobility issues to experience the thrill and camaraderie of taking part in mass running events.
The chair is being provided by JAPES (Joëlette & People Experiences), a non-profit social inclusion project, based in North Lanarkshire.
Abbie, who attends a mainstream school, is also a regular at SBH Scotland’s Be All You Can Be group at the Dan Young Building in Cumbernauld, where she can play and learn with other children with similar conditions, in a setting suited to her needs.
Last year the event raised over £2,800 for the SBH Scotland, the charity’s partner, with athletes adding a donation to their entry fee, as well as sponsorship and fundraising on the days.
As well as the main 10k race, there’s also a Victory Mile Walk, open to everyone to walk, roll or scoot and children’s races for children of all ages.
Entry is £5 and all participants receive a t-shirt and medal.
James said: “Over the past seven years SBH Scotland has become part of the family.
“The team have guided us through some of the darkest times, sharing information that helps us comprehend the complexities of Abbie’s illness.
“The organisation also provides a safe haven where myself and Danielle can speak openly about our situation with those who understand it best.
“While she undoubtedly faces challenges in her everyday life, Abbie is a very happy and bright young girl.
“We cannot be more grateful to SBH Scotland for everything they have done for us and we’re delighted that they are the nominated charity for this year’s Cumbernauld 10K event.”
Deborah Roe, fundraising director at SBH Scotland, said: “SBH Scotland are hugely grateful to all the Cumbernauld 10K participants who’ve already signed up to raise funds for us and we’d welcome anyone else who’d like to join Team SBH Scotland for the day.
“All funds raised are absolutely crucial to our ability to provide support to families like the Youngs’ who are affected by these complex disabilities.”
JAPES founder Nelson Liddle said: “With a team of volunteer runners we have now helped 12 ‘pilots’ with a range of disabilities, including cerebral palsy, genetic disorder, spinal injury and spina bifida, to participate in runs from 3km to a marathon.
“The messages I have received from carers and parents are exceedingly positive - this truly is a life enriching experience and smashes the barriers to participation.”