We were selected as the charity partner for the event and last week our Northern Ireland fundraiser Jo Wilson, centre, picked up a cheque for £3,138 from the event. A big thank you too to Santander, for the matched funding.
Jo said: "We're so grateful to the organisers for selecting us as their charity this year, everybody who took part and Santander for the matched funding - what a fantastic amount has been raised! With support like this we'll be able to make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it - thank you."
Race organiser and coach Heather Ardis explained why Meningitis Now was chosen: “Meningitis has affected many families across Northern Ireland, including club member Oliver Lewis and his family. As Oliver turns 10 this year it seems fitting that as we celebrate our tenth anniversary we also take steps to fight this disease.”
Oliver became ill with meningitis in 2007 on the way home from a family holiday and was given less than a 10 per cent chance of survival.
But the plucky youngster survived, despite significant after-effects, including the amputation of both legs below the knee and the fingertips on his left hand. He was first fitted with prosthetic legs in November 2007 and walked for the first time on these the following January.
Oliver’s mum, Karen, from Banbridge, said: “Almost ten years on from Oliver contracting meningitis, the memories are as clear as if it was yesterday. As a disease, meningitis scars physically and mentally, and it scars everyone in the entire family circle. We have always tried to remain positive and are extremely thankful for the support we get from our families and the local community.”
Such an inspiration
“Oliver is very active. As well as loving outdoor adventure, he plays football and golf after school, swims, does gymnastics and is a member of Banbridge Athletics Club. Thanks to Heather’s coaching and encouragement, Oliver has just received national classification from the British Athletics Classification Panel.”
Oliver took part in the Bann Fun Run with his sisters, Niamh and Clara and mum. His father, Alan, took on the 10K event. The event was sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Moon Lighting, Fit Banbridge, Quails, G & L Consultancy Ltd, Dynamic, Brown Bear, Shoefair Sports, Brooks, The Windsor and Opus.
Jo added: “Oliver is such an inspiration to everyone fighting back from meningitis.”