523. Zoe North
A Surrey teenager with cerebral palsy defied doctors’ predictions by walking the Virgin Money London Marathon route and raised over £100,000 for the children’s medical research charity Sparks.
Zoe North, 18, from New Malden, was the length of her father’s watch strap when she was born and weighed just 2lb 2oz, having been born three months prematurely. Her lifelong cerebral palsy condition means that she has extreme difficulty with balance, muscle weakness and coordination, making even getting out of bed each day a challenge.
Defying the odds, Zoe went from not being able to walk for longer than 15 minutes to completing the Virgin Money London Marathon route over five days, raising £100,000 for Sparks. The charity funds research into a broad range of conditions affecting children, babies and mothers-to-be; including premature birth and cerebral palsy.
Two Deutsche Bank employees were so moved by a speech Zoe gave at their ball last year that they decided to sign up with her. The pair ran a marathon a day while Zoe was walking to put themselves through the same physical challenge that Zoe was experiencing.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Zoe has shown great strength and determination in overcoming the challenges of her cerebral palsy to undertake her own inspiring marathon challenge. By walking the 26 miles of the London Marathon, she has raised a fantastic amount of money and awareness for the children’s medical research charity, Sparks. I am delighted to recognise Zoe as the UK’s 523rd Point of Light.”
“I feel honoured to receive this award from such an important and prestigiously recognised man, Mr David Cameron MP. My marathon challenge gave me the opportunity to achieve something very special in my city. London is a very special place, I will wear my medal with pride and feel proud that my challenge raised awareness of disabilities and funds for Sparks medical research charity. Thank you to everyone for supporting me.”
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