In January runABC Midlands reported on the inspiring progress of Team Ladybugs, the father and daughter duo who are proof that having a disability isn’t a barrier to taking part in physical activities.
Stephan and Chloe have been busy since we spoke to them at the start of 2019 taking part in a number of events including Wye Valley Runners New Year’s Day 10K, Helens Trust 10K at Chatsworth, Big Fun Run Cannon Hill Park and Severn Bridge 10K. They also took part in Thunder Run, wherer the organisers of the 24 hour race were really helpful. A tough course, but it allowed the team to put Chloe’s new off road chair through its paces.
The plucky pair has also completed Manchester Marathon and in doing so got over their disappointment at missing out on a Guinness World Record at Manchester Half Marathon 2018, where they lowered the previous best of 1:43:48 by 15 seconds only to find out that a new record had been set in 1 hour 35 minutes.
Chloe has cerebral palsy and is visually impaired but doesn’t allow this to stop her getting involved. She and dad Stephan hope their achievements will encourage other youngsters to challenge themselves. Stephan and his wife Diane set up an organisation called the Ladybugs Trust which provides opportunities for children and adolescents with a disability to experience the great outdoors.
Their mission is to raise awareness for severely disabled people that they can do events and experience the excitement of taking part. Stephan is a vocal advocate of people with disabilities taking part in sport and the Trust helps other families participate in events. He highlights the benefits as the excitement of taking part, the sensory feeling, the stimulation and feeling part of society. He says that participation can also help reduce anxiety and depression.
The Ladybugs Trust is working with progressive race organisers to get more disabled people to take part with abled-bodied people, in what is called Assisted Running. The Trust is able to explain to race organisers what's involved in Assisted Running, the equipment used and how to make participation safe.
It's been a good year for Team Ladybugs, despite a spill when taking part in a triathlon event in Bermuda in April. Now Chloe and Stephan are looking forward to 2020 and another busy event programme.
Find out more about the the Ladybugs Trust and its work to help children and young adolescents with disabilities to get the most out of life at the project website.