It will be a case of ‘push and love’ when a Kingstanding couple tackle the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k together on Sunday, May 6.
Donna Kerr is attempting to jog around the 6.2-mile route while pushing husband Daniel, a wheelchair user who suffers from Huntington’s Disease.
And there are certain to be emotional scenes at the finish line as Donna is planning to help Daniel, who turns 50 this summer, onto his feet and support him in walking the final few yards in front of family and friends.
Donna is a part-time kitchen assistant at Maryvale Catholic Primary School but spends most of her time caring for Daniel, who has been living with the debilitating disease, which attacks nerve cells in the brain, for seven years.
She is taking on the physical feat to boost awareness of the incurable condition and raise as much money as possible for the Huntington’s Disease Association (HDA), which improves care and support services for sufferers and their families.
The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k starts in Birmingham city centre before taking runners and walkers past sights such as the Selfridges building, Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston Stadium.
“It’s going to be a big challenge as the furthest I’ve ever pushed Daniel is during a walk in the park, but we’re both looking forward to taking this on together,” said Donna.
“I’m aiming to push Daniel to within a few yards of the finish line and then help him walk past the 10k mark.
“We’ll have family and friends at the finish line so it should be a very special moment.”
The couple’s five children - Christian, 24, Charlie, 22, Corey, 20, Chadlee, 18, and Daniel, 17 – will be among those cheering them on at the Jennens Road finale.
Corey is even considering running the event himself to support his mum and dad, a former gymnastics teacher at Birmingham Sports Centre, around the course.
The 10K is described as a great training run for those taking on the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon or Birmingham International Marathon, which both take place on Sunday, October 14.
The 10k has music at its heart, with energetic warm-ups and start waves featuring 80s, 90s, 00s and today’s tunes.
And it was during last year’s event that Donna got the idea of taking on the event with Daniel.
“I took up running last January and entered both the 10k and half marathon,” she explained.
“During the 10k, I saw three people taking it in turns to push someone in a wheelchair around and I just thought it would be a great thing to do with my husband, as he used to be really active.
“I mentioned it to Daniel and he said he really liked the idea of doing it to raise money for the HDA.
“Huntington’s Disease is hereditary. Daniel’s mum and late brother Patrick both had it and there’s no cure.
“The early signs came about six or seven years ago. Daniel’s body kept twitching and people couldn’t understand what he was saying. He also kept dropping things and falling over.
“The disease affects Daniels muscles, balance and speech. He’s not in the wheelchair permanently but can only walk short distances with my support.”
Daniel used to be a keen kickboxer and manages to keep active by lifting weights at home. He also undergoes occupational therapy every six months at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“The QE staff have been brilliant with their care and support,” added Donna.
“Pushing Daniel all the way around the 10k is going to be hard but I’m not nervous. Giving him the chance to walk over the finish will spur me on.”
To sign up for the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k click here
For the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon click here
To enter the Birmingham International Marathon click here
To sponsor Donna and Daniel visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/donna-kerr10