The Power Of One: 7 Year Old Girl Inspires A Marathon Effort
The story of one father’s determination to run seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness for juvenile arthritis
The pain of an only child has fired up a girl’s father to run an amazing seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness for juvenile idiopathic arthritis and help other children with the condition.
The torment of electrical cabling company manager Simon Trott watching his daughter Lekeisha learn to crawl and walk, only to crumble in pain from juvenile arthritis, inspired the marathon fundraiser, which he completed in just seven days.
Simon ran the marathons – one for each year of Lekeisha’s life – between Yorketown on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and Arthritis SA’s Adelaide office.
“I wanted to test myself,” said Simon, “Even if that meant experiencing pain, because that pain would be nothing compared with the pain Lekeisha and many of these kids go through.
“I have always been a sporty type of person and I wanted to push myself both physically and mentally. It did prove to be the sort of physical challenge I expected, but it was much more of a mental challenge than I had thought it would be.”
Simon was wracked with pain by day five of his marathon. Knee pain from an old Aussie Rules footy injury was the least of his worries. Both knees were excruciating. His neck ached. His back was sore. His feet burned and were covered in plasters, and to top it off, three of his toenails were fast falling off. That was despite extensive preparation.
Simon had started training for his marathons two years beforehand. The old footy injury flared up and he couldn’t start until his knee had healed. The injury meant he had to rebuild strength in the affected leg by running on a level surface, so much of his training was restricted to nightly workouts on a treadmill in a gym.
He was determined, running two hours every night after work. It was the thought of Lekeisha’s pain and determination to walk and enjoy a normal physical childhood that spurred him on.
“I think any parent will appreciate how I felt,” said Simon. “When you’re a parent and your child is in pain you feel so helpless. You would do anything you possibly can for them.
“If you can’t help them directly, apart from getting them treatment and giving them comfort, you can find another way to support them – big or small.”
Simon said he thought about what he could do and drew on his love of sport in designing his challenge. Turning it into a fundraising event was another challenge.
He established a goal to raise $10,000 and set up a Go Fundraise page. He canvassed support of family and friends, asking them to give to his cause.
Simon courted and secured media interviews, made special appearances, and then he ran.
He will be forever grateful to his dad who formed his lone road crew and family members who helped him from his launch outside the pub at Yorketown, along the way and then cheered him over the finish line.
When Simon arrived at the finish, exceeding his goal, he was given a hero’s welcome. Waiting for him just over the finish line was Lekeisha. Simon couldn’t stop hugging her.
At her age, he doubts Lekeisha can grasp the concept of how far he had run or the toll it had on his body but she did spoil him rotten – turning his bedroom into a quiet sanctuary with portraits, candles and fluffy toys, and even trying to help him walk!
The trophy cup in his lounge room, presented by Arthritis SA, is a reminder that dad did something really special.
“She looks at that and then looks at me,” said Simon, “and I can see it in her eyes. She knows this was really special and I think she sees me differently for it.”
By Celia Painter
Marketing & Communications Manager
Simon’s story is a perfect example of how individuals are helping us to raise awareness and funds for arthritis. If you’re inspired to hold your own fundraising event for arthritis or want to support other campaigns like Simon’s, call us on 1800 011 041.