Taking on a big charity challenge

Sarah with sons Andrew and Sam
Sarah with sons Andrew and Sam

A Stonehaven woman has launched a major fundraising triathlon challenge in support of three spinal cord injury charities.

Sarah Dickinson’s son sustained a broken neck in a road accident at Christmas in 2009 when he was 17.

Sam, 26, now has a high level spinal cord injury and paralysis affecting all four of his limbs.

Sarah said: “Sam’s spinal cord injury often means we have to do things differently, especially when doing things together as a family.

“As a result, I have come up with the SCI Tri Challenge, a completely accessible triathlon that anyone can participate in to get healthy and active.”

The accident happened on the A90 near Stonehaven as Sarah, husband James, Sam and younger brother Andrew, now 24, set off on a festive break.

Their car skidded on black ice, left the carriageway and overturned - leaving Sam with life-changing injuries.

Sarah launched her fundraising project by doing a mini-challenge with her sons on Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) Awareness Day in May.

Representatives from the three charities, Back Up, Aspire and Spinal Research, all attended the event in London.

The Stonehaven councillor is currently well into an eight-week maxi challenge - which takes in swimming, cycling and running.

It involves her swimming a thousand, 25 metre lengths, a 100 cycle and a 10k run.

Sarah has involved family and friends from far and wide in her fundraising venture.

Some of the youngest participants in the challenge are three sisters who, with the support of their mother, have formed a team.

Sarah is a passionate advocate of the three charities.

She explained: “Every journey through the effects of spinal cord injury can be different for those who find their lives dramatically and devastatingly altered without warning in this way.

“The physical trauma is significant and long stays in specialist spinal units undergoing rehabilitation are the norm.

“However, once discharged, the enormity of the change can still be overwhelming, and many can find it a struggle to have the confidence to go out and rebuild their lives.

“Recovering hope in the future can take time but is crucial to helping families and individuals to move on positively from what has happened to them.”

Regarding the fundraiser, Sarah added: “For me this event is about being part of something. It’s for everyone to get involved with, regardless of ability or age.

“I passionately believe that it’s not how far you go or how fast you do it that matters, but setting distances that challenge you which, when done, will make you feel brilliant about what you achieve.”

To sign up, to donate or for more information about the triathlon challenge, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/SCITRICHALLENGE2018