Tuesday 23 January 2018

Dad vows to help daughter (6) with cerebral palsy become youngest ever participant in Dublin Marathon

Ian Begley

A dedicated dad is committed to make his daughter the youngest-ever participant in next year’s Dublin Marathon.

Keith Russell from Navan, Co Meath is trying to raise a total of €100,000 to adapt his house for six-year-old Alanna who has cerebral palsy.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Keith (33) said that the local council is donating €30,000 to his cause and has already raised €65,000 in his campaign.

“After two years of campaigning we’ve only about €5,000 to go which is just incredible. Our whole house had to be gutted because it’s about 80 years old and really in no shape at all to suit her needs.

“The idea to fundraise started with myself and my wife who managed to raise up to €20,000. Then we put a committee together who have really helped to kick things off.

“We’ve being regulars at the Navan park run and the reaction we've received there is just fantastic. She loves it so much and is always so eager to come out.

Recently a special jogging buggy was donated to them by “Team James” who are supporting James Casserly from Lucan who has cerebral palsy and juvenile arthritis.

The 10-year-old took part in this year’s marathon where he was pushed by personal trainer Mark Lacey. To date James is the youngest participant. Keith is training hard for next year when he’ll push Alanna for the entire of the route.

"There was no way we could be doing the runs with her old wheelchair. James's chair makes all the difference and we're so grateful to him for donating it to us."

Keith added that his dream is to run in next year's Dublin Marathon with Alanna, but says there is still a big meeting process to get through.

"We’re all hoping she’ll be allowed to participate , but with the sheer success of Team James I don't see why we wont."

Donations can be made via: www.gofundme.com/alannarussell or on Facebook at Team Alanna.

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