Luke To Be Guided By Dad At North 10K For Charity

Great Comeback 1

To enter the Simplyhealth Great North 10k Gateshead, visit: Greatrun.org/North10k

A student who is visually impaired will be guided by his father at this year's Simplyhealth Great North 10k as he takes on his first running challenge to fundraise for a guide dog's charity.

Luke Johnson, from Jarrow in South Tyneside, has Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy & has suffered the loss of the right field of vision in both eyes as a result.

He was diagnosed at nine months old after suffering a bleed in his brain which resulted in a stroke, causing weakness to his right arm & leg.

Although the diagnosis has had a huge impact on Luke's life, he is determined to take on the 10k challenge on Sunday 8 July, to help raise funds for Guide Dogs charity, who have supported him for the past 18 months.

He is an avid Formula One fan and has been developing his life and physical skills through physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Luke, who is currently on the waiting list to receive a guide dog, will be guided by his father Jon at the event, which takes place in Gateshead. The event will be the first organised run that the pair have taken part in and they hope to raise hundreds of pounds for charity. Luke's Dad believes that having a guide dog will make him a lot more independent in life.

Jon, 56, said: “We were told that he'd suffered an extensive bleed in his brain which resulted in him having a stroke. As a result of this he has mobility problems, epilepsy, learning disability and is Visually Impaired.

“His diagnosis had a huge impact on our lives. We knew from early on that there were going to be many challenges in his life and he wouldn't be able to do things that his brother Callum did.

“Due to his condition, he has learning disabilities, mobility problems and visual impairment. He struggles on uneven ground and has difficulty processing information.

“Despite all this, Luke has a great sense of humour and has developed coping strategies ti help him.

“He has recently been taught to use a white cane by Guide Dogs, which has boosted his confidence a lot and he's also on the waiting list for a Guide Dog.

“When he told me he wanted to fundraise to give something back to them by doing a running event, I said I would accompany him as his guide. We are so proud of Luke for wanting to take on such a huge challenge and we know he will give it his best shot.”

Luke and Jon will join 5,000 others for the Simplyhealth Great North 10k Gateshead where runners will share the satisfaction of completing a challenge, whatever their pace or motivation.

Participants will experience the ultimate finish line feeling as they enter Gateshead International Stadium where friends and family can gather to cheer them on.

They are taking part in the 10k as part of their training for the Simplyhealth Great North Run, which takes place in September.

Luke, who is a student at South Tyneside College, added: “Our training is going quite well, apart from a few falls. I need to wear a foot splint to support my right foot when running and I am waiting for a new one to help reduce the risk of falls when I'm training.

“We've never done anything like this before, so we will be going at our own pace and it doesn't matter how long we take, as the cause is the most important thing."

To support Luke and Jon's fundraising, visit: http://justgiving.com/fundraising/Luke-Johnson26.

To enter the Simplyhealth Great North 10k Gateshead, visit: Greatrun.org/North10k