Take on a Challenge for BBS: Sian

Take on a Challenge for BBS: Sian

Take on a Challenge for BBS: Sian

Sian is running a marathon in her BBS gear.There’s much more to fundraising than holding a collection tin! It’s fun, rewarding and a great opportunity to meet new people and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible! Sian, an NHS nurse, pushed herself to run half marathons in Stafford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham for her daughters in 2022, despite having never run a half marathon before!

“Both my daughters, Emily (21) and Beth (18), were suddenly registered blind (severely sight impaired) within 4 weeks of each other in 2018 due to Stargardts, a rare genetic juvenile macular degenerative disorder.
At a time when all doors seemed to be closing, BBS provided opportunities and a chance to try things in a different way, proving to the girls that they can still do whatever they want in life and that there is a solution to every problem if we take the time to find it. Staying active is vital for both physical and mental health and has given them the confidence to pursue their dreams.”

Sian’s daughters attended a BBS Have a Go Day with the Paralympic GB VI Judo Team at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton. Following their experience, Emily now regularly cycles 40–60 mile trips on her tandem, or trains indoors using Zwift. Beth has taken up athletics and has returned to the gym with confidence. She has also chosen to study sport as one of her school subjects.

“Attending the Have a Go Day with the girls made me realise that if they could do these things, then I could too! The way they were coping with their sudden sight loss inspired me. I joined my local running club’s beginner course in January 2019 to get fit enough to try and guide run for my daughters to help them continue to do the sports they love.”

As many of us know, making a lifestyle change can seem overwhelming at first, and Sian shows us that by taking it step-by-step (literally!) you can improve your health and wellbeing, achieve amazing fitness goals and support the people around you to do the same.

“I have been a registered nurse for 27 years. Working shifts, I never really considered that I had time to join a club. I have also never been very fit, which potentially produced a mental barrier to trying different sports. I now run 3 to 4 times per week. I love both the running and the friends it has provided. I have been challenged to achieve things I never thought possible, including running 3 half marathons in six weeks, becoming a run leader and being a guide runner for both my daughters in 2019, as well as a gentleman who attended Sedgley Striders for a few months before Covid.”

Completing an endurance race can be life-changing, and there are so many unexpected benefits of running a half-marathon. Sian finished her challenge, running Stafford on 20th March, Wolverhampton on 10th April and Birmingham on 1st May. She has raised over £700 for BBS, smashing her original target of £300!

“Seeing the sponsorship appearing was great motivation to get out there and train. Just Giving is amazing, it takes the hassle out of fundraising and collects the gift aid at the same time.

Finding a running group to share the training was key for me, the club has given me a sense of belonging and has helped to boost my confidence. Most of my longer runs have been with two of my friends from Sedgley Striders, which was fabulous as the Stafford half was the first one for all three of us. We have encouraged each other all along the way - out training whatever the weather, making it fun even if soaked or freezing!

However, my biggest motivation comes from the resilience, independence and confidence displayed daily by my two girls. If you believe you can, you will achieve. Nothing is impossible, sometimes things require a different approach to achieve the outcome. The sense of achievement in completing a fundraising challenge is magnified in the pleasure gained by knowing how the money raised will help others.”

BBS is the UK's only national sports and physical activity charity exclusively for people with sight loss. There are more than 350,000 children and adults who are blind or partially sighted and they need our help now more than ever before. Whatever way you'd like to fundraise - virtual exercise classes, a football tournament or whatever you can dream up - we'll support you all the way! Take on a challenge for BBS today and help us make sure that blind and partially sighted people of all ages and abilities have the access to and feel the benefits of sport and physical activity.

For more information or for ways you can support the work we do, contact fundraising@britishblindsport.org.uk