Marathon of hope

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Runner to tackle Dublin Marathon to raise funds

AS National Down Syndrome Day approaches, local runner Suzanne Pope prepares to run the Dublin Marathon in the UK at the end of the month for the Down Syndrome Association Amathole (DSAA).

EVERY KM COUNTS: Suzanne Pope will be running her ninth marathon at the end of the month. This will be her fifth marathon for charity and this year it will be for the Down Syndrome Association Amathole

Pope has, to date, run eight marathons around the world, including the London Marathon, New York Marathon, Athens Marathon and Amsterdam Marathon, to name a few.

For Pope, this will be her fifth marathon used as a fundraising drive for local charities.

Previous beneficiaries include the East London SPCA, British charity, Children with Leukemia and the East London Rotary Club of Arcadia.

“My first marathon was the London Marathon in 2006. I received an entry ticket through my then-employers, Investec. The condition was that I ran for a local charity, so I chose the East London SPCA,” Pope explained.

“I find that running for a charity adds purpose to my training and the event. I like helping other people and I do believe that we can make a difference through small acts of kindness and compassion,” she said.

National Down Syndrome Day is celebrated countrywide on October 20. The association hosts its annual awareness tea geared at raising funds and creating awareness on October 21.

The association also offers monthly support group dance sessions for youngsters with Down syndrome. Dynamic Body Studio’s Vicky Luff facilitates the dance sessions and members of the public are welcome to volunteer their time and to come and enjoy interacting and dancing with young adults.

“We’re so happy to have Suzanne as part of our awareness creating campaign this year and hope that with her help we can raise the much-needed funds and awareness,” said DSAA branch director Denise Taylor.

DS AWARENESS: Down Syndrome Association Amathole children Travers Ball and Kayla Skein proudly wear their DS T-shirts. Next week we celebrate National Down Syndrome Day Pictures: SUPPLIED

“Down syndrome (DS) is the most common occurring chromosomal condition caused by an extra chromosome 21. There is a great need to increase awareness of DS in every sphere of life. Spreading the word will increase openness on the subject and contribute to better care and supervision.”

Now employed by Sanlam Glacier, Pope has strong support from her employer who strongly believes in supporting the community through various sponsorships and initiatives.

The company has been supporting the Down Syndrome Association for a few years wherever possible. Pope will be running the Dublin Marathon for the charity in the hope that the association will receive additional funds and support from the East London community.

“Financial support is vital for this charity to continue helping the children and supporting their families. There are so many people out there who need help in various forms.

“I can’t help them all but I can try and improve awareness and hope generous people will open their hearts and help in whatever way they can,” said Pope.

If anyone is interested in supporting the association, please contact Taylor at dsaael@telkomsa.net or on (043)722-4918.

All are welcome to attend the annual awareness tea taking place on Saturday October 21 at the Osner Hotel. For tickets or more information, please contact Sonia on 072-784-0398.

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