“Thomas’ progress drives the determination of the fundraisers”
COLLEGE LECTURER Julie Bateman is running the Kielder Half Marathon for the second time this year, for a very special reason.
Julie has been running since her 20s having never been a sporty person previously. She told us, “running helps my sanity and compensates for my love of food and cooking!”
The 41 year old makes the return visit to Britain’s Most Beautiful Half Marathon to help raise funds for the charity Help Thomas 2 Dance to support her friend and Thomas’ Mum Nicci. Julie and Nicci worked together in Namibia as part of the VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) over ten years ago and stayed in touch after returning home.
Little Thomas suffers from Cerebral Palsy, his condition noticed by Mum Nicci and Dad Brian when he developed differently to his twin brother Dylan. One consequence of Thomas’ condition is that he cannot walk without aids.
Julie told us:
“One solution that has been recommended to help Thomas potentially walk independently is an operation that is no longer funded on the NHS and so Help Thomas 2 Dance was born. The funds are helping to pay for physio to strengthen his core and muscle memory in preparation for potentially having the operation in the next year or two. He’s making amazing progress and this drives the determination of the fundraisers to help him on his journey.”
Julie decided to return to Kielder Half having run in 2016.
“I ran the event for the same charity last year but I was really poorly when I did it so hope to do better this year. I loved the event – I’ve done the Great North Run several times and also run the Liverpool Half but this was my first off road half marathon and I really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the day as well as the supportive atmosphere from both supporters and other runners.”
Julie classes Kielder as a different challenge to herself after years of running on the road due to the terrain, and links her challenge to Thomas whose challenge is to walk on different terrain with his sticks, walker and maybe even one day, independently.
Events of the North team would like to wish Julie the best of luck for her Kielder Half Marathon, and to Thomas and his family for their fundraising.
To donate or find out more about Help Thomas 2 Dance, visit the website https://helpthomas2dance.com/home/