Katie overcomes disability to take on running challenge for Sussex children’s charity

A determined young person with learning disabilities “who didn’t really like running” is gearing up for her first charity challenge.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 11:14 am

Katie Goldsmith, 23, a Brighton charity volunteer from Uckfield, is competing in the Focus 10k at Borde Hill Garden in Haywards Heath on Sunday July 4.

The event is being held to raise funds for Chailey Heritage Foundation and Katie has already signed up.

Chailey Heritage Foundation is a charity providing education, care and transition services to children and young adults with complex physical disabilities. Their mission is to give disabled children and young adults every opportunity to pursue their fullest potential.

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Entrants can choose the 10k, 5k, the children’s Mini-Mile or take on a Virtual Challenge from anywhere - and people interested in taking part are being urged to sign up as soon as possible via www.focus10k.com.

Every penny will go towards supporting the children and young adults with complex disabilities at Chailey Heritage Foundation.

Katie said: “I never liked running before because I always found it too difficult.

“Now I am determined to complete the 5k to challenge myself and prove that people with learning disabilities can play sports like everyone else.

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“I am showing that it’s okay to face your fears and to do something challenging. I have heard a lot of good things about Chailey Heritage Foundation and I want to help those in need.

“My godfather works there, and both my nanny and mum used to work there, so I have heard what good work goes on.”

Mum, Jan Goldsmith, is delighted that her daughter is so determined to complete the challenge and support the charity.

Jan said: “She used to hate running. Because of her autism and sensory issues, she finds getting hot and sweaty very disconcerting and uncomfortable. She has always found strenuous exercise very difficult to sustain.

“She found the incentive to run while on her second attempt using the Couch to 5K app, and she completed most of the course on her own - with a little help plotting the routes.

“She now wants to challenge herself more and wants to run for charity in an organised event.

“And when her godfather Steve Primrose - who works at Chailey Heritage Foundation - said the charity was organising a sponsored run, we thought it would be a great opportunity for Katie to try out her new running skills and raise money for a great place.”

Katie’s grandmother. Margaret Barton. worked in the charity’s wages office in the late 1970s and 80s when it was over on ‘the hospital site’ as it was then known.

Jan said: “She would come home from home and tell me what a fabulous place it was. She loved working there.

“Encouraged by her stories, I did some voluntary work there myself as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award and found it a pleasure to go each week, thoroughly enjoying entertaining the children in the evenings.

“I also worked there as an Individual Needs Assistant for a time. I loved it and recognised the huge amount of work that goes into supporting the children with their individual needs.”

Katie is part of Brighton charity Team Domenica, which supports young adults with learning difficulties, giving them work experience and helping them find paid work. She is also a volunteer litter picker.

Jan said: “For someone who used to struggle to run to the end of the road without moaning, she is doing amazingly well and I have enjoyed training with her to help build her up to July 4.

“This 5k will be a real challenge but Katie is determined to complete the course. We are using it as a warm up for the Brighton 10k later in the year and to get Katie used to how organised events work.

“She plans to run the 10k in aid of Team Domenica as she feels they have done a lot for her and she wants to give something back.”

The Focus 10k is on July 4 and now is the time to sign up for the 10k, 5k or the Virtual Challenge. Go to Focus 10K 4 July 2021 at Borde Hill Garden (chf.org.uk)

To sponsor Katie’s 5k challenge, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jan-goldsmith4.