Whizz-Kidz is calling on wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users alike to join forces for Challenge 75 this September. The fun and inclusive endurance event in the Olympic Park falls on the 4th of September – the last weekend of the Paralympics, and will raise funds to support the charity’s vital work.
Whizz-Kidz is the leading UK charity that supports young wheelchair users and their families. Since starting in 1990, it has helped more than 20,000 young people to lead lives full of fun, freedom and independence. The charity transforms the lives of young wheelchair users by providing the equipment, support and life skills they need, when they need them, giving them the chance to develop their full potential.
Challenge 75 started with a simple statistic, that across the UK there are an estimated 75,000 young wheelchair users. Whizz-Kidz wanted to find a way to both support and celebrate these amazing young people, and from this Challenge 75 was born.
In 2019, the charity held the first event in London’s Olympic Park which saw families of both wheelchair users and non-wheelchair users alike come together to take on the chip-timed challenge. Participants completed as many laps as possible around a 400m track in 75 minutes.
This year sees the first in-person Challenge 75 event since 2019 after being postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions, and excitement is building for its return.
Paula McGoveney, Head of Public Fundraising at Whizz-Kidz, said: “We are very excited to bring back our special Challenge 75 event in London’s iconic Olympic Park. It’s such a brilliant day for all the family and is a truly inclusive event for everyone of all ages and abilities. It is open to everyone and has always been about setting your own challenges and goals. After a summer of sport, including the Paralympics, it will be amazing to see everyone come together to have fun and help us to reach and support even more young wheelchair users across the UK.”
One of competitors calling on other young wheelchair users to join the event is Abbie Smart, 24, from London, who also took part in the event in 2019.
Abbie has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user, but can walk with help and in her walker. She took part with her aunt using a walker and said she’d never walked that far before and she says she surprised herself with how far she managed to go.
Abbie said: “I heard about Challenge 75 on the Whizz-Kidz social media pages. My first impressions were that it looked amazing and I would like to give it a go, so my aunt helped me to sign up for it. I decided to take on the challenge because it looked like an exciting thing to do and would be an achievement to look back on and feel proud of. It was a memorable thing to do with my aunt, and having the rest of the family cheer me on was brilliant.
I felt really proud of myself when I crossed the finish line as I felt I had really achieved something that I would remember for years.”
Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, sports journalist and broadcaster at Channel 4, attended the event in 2019 is encouraging others to take part in Challenge 75 this year: “I joined Whizz Kidz years ago, because I understand the burden of having to find the money to buy electric wheelchairs. But more than that, it’s important to me that these young people have just as much of a chance to access all the things that young people should have. Building confidence is essential and sport is a huge way of doing this.
Challenge 75 is a brilliant opportunity to come together as a community and support more young wheelchair users to reach their full potential, whilst having fun.”
For more information and to sign up to Challenge 75, visit Challenge 75 London here.