“Lightning” Lottie Wilcocks is heading for London and a marathon challenge.
The 12-year-old girl from Ripponden, who is in a wheelchair, is to take part in Sunday’s London Mini Marathon fundraising for Dogs for the Disabled.
And the youngster who won an award last month with her assistance dog, Velvet, has had backing from superstar athlete Hannah Cockroft.
Hannah, Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder, said: “I’m so touched by the support Lottie gets from Dogs for the Disabled assistance dog Velvet and thrilled Lottie wants to follow in my tracks and try to win the London wheelchair mini marathon.
“My first win in April 2009 was the start of a hard journey towards many world records and two Paralympic golds and I know Lottie aims for Paralympic glory too.
“We West Yorkshire girls are hard to beat and Lottie has a great future in wheelchair racing. Go Lightning Lottie! – from Hurricane Hannah.”
Lottie is competing in the Virgin Money Giving Mini Marathon .
She said: “Velvet is my best friend. She comes everywhere with me and gives me confidence to do things couldn’t do without her”.
Velvet accompanies Lottie when training for road and track wheelchair races. Lottie came second in the Great North Run in 2013 and trains with Rochdale Harriers (road races) and Manchester Kestrels (track).
Just hours after she was born Lottie underwent nine hours of major surgery and since then has had orthopaedic, bowel and bladder operations and brain surgery.
Labrador Velvet helps 12 year old Lottie, who has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, with practical tasks and gives her independence too, allowing her to come home alone like any of her classmates. Unable to walk, Lottie can’t feel her knees, shins or feet and gets around only in a wheelchair. But Velvet gives the aspiring Paralympic athlete the confidence to live life to the full.
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