Ultra-marathon runners step in to help Keynsham boy Luka reach fundraising total

Published on: 07 May 2016

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A couple running a gruelling 285km ultra-marathon have dedicated their efforts to a Keynsham family battling to improve the life of their profoundly disabled son.

Garrad Bailey, a South Gloucestershire Council road safety officer, and his partner Liz Wiggins are taking part in a six-day ultra-marathon in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco this month.

The super-fit couple are raising money through sponsorship, with all funds going to the family of Luka Cerabona who was born in 2012 with cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, epilepsy and the rare condition porenchephaly, a cyst on the brain.

Luka’s parents, mum Kim and dad Jules, hope to be able to convert their Amberley Close home to create a ground floor bedroom and wet room for Luka, enabling him to get around by himself in his walker or wheelchair and to provide space for the many therapies he has at home. Bath and North East Somerset Council is providing £30,000 towards the project, which has left a shortfall of around £17,000, a target Luka’s family and friends are tirelessly working towards.

Alongside providing day-to-care for Luka, Kim and Jules have held a series of fundraising events such as sales and a disco and, with donations from individuals, £400 from the Lions Club of Keynsham and more than £1,400 from two family friends who ran the Bath Half Marathon, their total has reached more than £8,000.

Developer Bloor Homes has also pledged £7,000 after an approach from local councillor Alan Hale and Garrad and Liz’s marathon effort will help in the final push to enable building work to begin.

Garrad said: “The family are working really hard on raising the much-needed funds themselves by numerous sales and charity events, so we thought we would like to help support them to get that one step closer.” 

The Trans Atlas Marathon sees participants running for 10 to 12 hours a day and ascending more than 46,000ft (14,000m), or the equivalent of running over Mount Everest twice, while carrying water, clothing and emergency equipment.

Councillor Alan Hale said: “I have been working in support of Luka and his family for some six months or more now and I am humbled by the fundraising done by Kim. 

“It is great that Garrad, latterly a work colleague of mine, has agreed to put all of his physical effort into raising money for the cause. We recently have had a meeting with officers from We Care and Repair and plans have been agreed and the processes will now start to run but it is vital that we raise the last few thousand pounds to make it all possible. Please do sponsor Garrad to make his efforts worthwhile.”

Luka’s mum Kim added: “It is so good the progress we have made and I am so grateful to Bloor Homes for their overwhelming pledge of £7,000. I hope that people will sponsor Garrad to just raise the last amount of money to seal the project. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far on our journey.”

To sponsor Garrad and add to Luka’s fund, visit https://www.gofundme.com/sszr6444

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