Kelly Barton, who has been registered blind since birth, has overcome challenges her whole life and now she aims to show how, with a bit of determination and moxie, anyone can reach their goals. She’s going to run the London Marathon to raise money for Steps to Work, a programme at The Salvation Army’s Strawberry Field expression. The programme helps Liverpool’s disadvantaged youth overcome learning disabilities and other barriers to gainful employment.
Kelly, the volunteer coordinator at Strawberry Field, said, “Some young people can face many barriers when it comes to gaining employment and I am someone who understands just how hard that can be.”
Kelly is passionate about the work done at Strawberry Field, especially the Steps to Work programme. “I’m living proof that there should be no barriers to employment at all and everyone should be encouraged to see their potential and reach for their dreams … I know the Steps to Work programme can and will change young lives.”
Kelly’s goal is to raise at least £2000. To help her achieve this goal Kelly will run the marathon with her guide runner, Mike Leatherbarrow. Mike has been instrumental in helping Kelly develop the confidence to run and compete in running events.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to run and to run fast, “ said Kelly, “all my life I’ve gone around slowly and with such care; I’ve never had running experience before but now I am supported by Mike who gives me the confidence to run and although it was daunting at first I’ll never stop.”
Having learnt to navigate life independently, Kelly had to learn to place complete trust in Mike. “Mike describes what is going on around me, and he’ll let me know the sites that we’ll pass and describe people running nearby so I really won’t be missing out on anything.”
You can contribute to Kelly’s cause. All you have to do is visit her Just Giving page to donate. (As of the 5th of February Kelly has raised £2235.)
“If me taking part in the marathon gets just one person running or encourages people to think that they can get a job or that they can do anything then it would make me so happy; I want people to know that you can do it!”
Well done, Kelly, and best of luck!