Having a diagnosis of Autism and ADHD didn’t deter nine-year-old Charlie Witherington from taking part in a run to honour his grandfather’s memory.
The Poole youngster raised £240 for Forest Holme Hospice Charity by competing in the recent Junior 2k Run Bournemouth event.
His mother Samantha said: “Anybody who knows Charlie knows he loves his running. Charlie’s autism means he has limited interests, but the things he does like, he really focuses on, like running.
“He loves watching videos of Usain Bolt and hopes to be faster than him when he’s older. Charlie loves running around his school field and uses this as a release, as it helps him to stay calm.”
Charlie’s Grandad Dave Keys was diagnosed with cancer in December 2019 and in September 2020 he was told it was terminal. Sadly he passed away on 7 August this year, spending his final three weeks in Forest Holme where Samantha said, ‘he had incredible care’.
“Forest Holme is one of those amazing charities which you only get to know about if, unfortunately, you have a loved one go there. Charlie never went to Forest Holme but would send Grandad funny videos while he was there so he could hear his voice. In the last week Dave was mainly asleep, but definitely heard Charlie’s voice as his eyelids would flicker.”
Charlie trained hard to prepare for his 2K, running alongside his Uncle Richard and taking part in park runs on a Saturday to prepare for the Run Bournemouth event.
Samantha said: “Charlie was very nervous about doing the run. He doesn’t like noise or crowds and was worried about falling over. But he was so determined to do this for his beloved Grandad Keys.
“It was such a massive achievement for Charlie as he has limited danger awareness. The whole family were rooting for him and were standing at different points on the route to make sure he was safe and to cheer him on. We’re so proud of Charlie for keeping his Grandad’s memory alive and this will be something he will want to do each year.”
If you’d like to donate to Charlie’s Just Giving page, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-witherington
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