Former paratrooper will run, cycle and kayak length of UK for Mollie's wheelchair fund
PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:12 02 February 2019
A former paratrooper from Kesgrave is running, kayaking and cycling the length of the UK to raise money for a new ‘off road’ powered wheelchair for his niece living with cerebral palsy.
Luke Read, 30, of Offord Close, Kesgrave, is taking on the gruelling challenge on Friday, March 1 - which will see him run 100 miles, kayak 25 miles and cycle 875 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats.
Mr Read, who served two tours of Afghanistan while based in Colchester, hoped to raise £6,000 to pay for a ‘Tiny Trax’ wheelchair for his five-year-old niece Mollie, who lives in Swindon.
Mollie was born at just 27 weeks and spent the first three months of her life in a special care unit.
She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of complications from her premature birth, leaving her unable to walk.
Mr Read said the new wheelchair will give his niece the chance to play with her eight-year-old sister Livia outdoors.
He said: “The Tiny Trax wheelchair would allow her some freedom and to go ‘off road’. “Her sister Livia is a very active eight-year-old.
“Mollie cannot walk but sees her sister doing all these events and running around and gets frustrated she cannot keep up with her.
“It will be nice to give Mollie the freedom so she can play with her sister.”
Mr Read has already smashed his target by £350 but any extra funding will go towards customising and upgrading Mollie’s wheelchair.
Mr Read, who founded Airborne Fit, which has gyms at Woodbridge and Brightwell Barns, said he has been putting in the hours on the treadmill to make sure he is fit for the challenge.
He said: “I have been running on the treadmill but with a 15kg vest on to make my life a bit harder.
“I have run a few marathons before so wanted to do something extra - for me the challenge had to be harder than a marathon.
“I am trying to do the whole challenge in 18 days.”
Colleagues from Airborne Fit will be joining Mr Read on his challenge, keeping pace in a vehicle which will be used as a place for Mr Read to grab a few winks at night.