Two stories from the UK
15-year-old Jake from Ireland excels in athletics
As athletes from all over the world make their final preparations for the forthcoming Rio Paralympics, which will be held in September, one Carlow, Ireland athlete has set his sights on taking part in the next event, which will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
Fifteen-year-old Jake Hennessy has just had had his first success at international level, winning two medals at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) world under-23 junior games in Prague and now he wants more.
A little over a year ago Jake had never competed at national level not to mention on an international stage, but such has his progress been that not alone did he represent Ireland at one event but in three − javelin, shot-putt and discus − winning bronze in the discus and javelin.
Although born with hereditary spastic paraplegia, which affects Jake’s mobility and balance, it was not until last year that he was actually diagnosed with the disability. Jake was selected to compete at the IWAS games in Prague, which ran from 29 June to 2 July. The games come under the auspices of the International Paralympics – in the under 16 category for the shot-putt and at under-18 level for discus and javelin.
There in Prague to witness him take to the podium to collect his medals was his proud mother Vivienne and grandmother Margaret Hennessy.
SOURCE: The Nationalist, August 3 2016
JAKE (15) EYES UP PARALYMPIC GAMES IN FOUR YEARS’ TIME
3 1/2-year-old Lucie from England takes HSP in her stride
At the age of three-and-a-half, Lucie Ballantyne has only just found out the reason why she can’t walk. She might not understand the diagnosis but it’s been a long time coming for her mum – and is the final piece in a puzzle which has troubled her, and doctors, for many months.
“At first I was just thinking she was late walking. Some children develop in different ways but something didn’t seem right – as a parent you know when that’s the case.”
Lucie’s legs were stiff and could not hold her up while her upper limbs and hands were fine. “At first they thought she had cerebral palsy,” said Michelle. “But an MRI scan showed her brain was clear. But then came the result of genetic tests at the Centre for Life – and finally an answer.
“She’s only young and she doesn’t really understand but she never complains about it. She gets around in her own little way and she whizzes around with her walker.”
She added: “She keeps herself busy. She can sit and entertain herself with drawing and reading. She’s a happy little girl. She doesn’t cry, nothing like that. She doesn’t say “why am I like this’? or ‘why don’t I walk’?”
SOURCE: ChronicleLive, June 12 2016
Meet the little Newcastle girl with one wish – to be able to walk