Brother and sister to prove disability is no barrier to Great North Run success

Lynn and Andrew Mearns will aim to complete the 13.1 mile course for Scope and the British Heart Foundation

Andrew and cerebral palsy sufferer Lynn Mearns who are running the Great North run for Scope and the British Heart Foundation
Andrew and cerebral palsy sufferer Lynn Mearns who are running the Great North run for Scope and the British Heart Foundation

A brother and sister say they won’t let disability get in the way of their dream of completing the Great North Run together.

Cerebral palsy sufferer Lynn Mearns is aiming to cap a year of firsts by be pushed around the 13-mile course in her wheelchair by her brother, Andrew.

“We did the Junior Great North Run together when I was at school, but we’ve never done the main run,” said Lynn, 26, who is raising money for Scope and the British Heart Foundation.

Lynn is unable to compete in the wheelchair event by herself because she does not have enough strength in her arms to push herself from Newcastle to South Shields.

But the East Herrington native said she prefers to concentrate on what people in wheelchairs can do, rather than dwell on what they cannot.

In July, Lynn was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Andrew, 30, to wife Nicola, while back in March the siblings went to Wembley to watch Sunderland’s Capital One Cup Final defeat to Manchester City.

“I thought I’d never go to Wembley, and I thought I’d never be a bridesmaid, but I’ve done those, she said.

“And I thought I’d never do the main Great North Run, but I am doing it. I’ve done other challenges, but I’ve never done this one.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge – but I’m not looking forward to getting up at 5am.”

Two years ago, Lynn, who has been fund-raising for charities since she was nine, covered 10 kilometres in her powered wheelchair, raising £1,500 for charities.

And before that, she organised a charity night which raised £1,700 for Sunderland Royal Hospital’s orthopaedic ward.

She has also previously won a Pride of Wearside Award and a Princess Diana Award, as well as coming runner-up in Sunderland’s Young Achievers awards, for her efforts and her positive attitude.

Andrew, of Coxhoe, meanwhile is a keen runner, and has competed in races including the Sunderland and Berlin half-marathons.

The Bupa Great North Run takes place on Sunday September 7, with a spectacular opening ceremony taking place on the Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides on September 4.

Anyone who has ever run the event in its 33-year history is eligible for a free ticket, 10,000 are being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis visit  www.greatrun.org/ticket_giveaway  to apply.

Tickets are also available to buy at  www.gnrmillion.org  priced £12 for adults and £7 for children.

To sponsor Lynn and Andrew, go to justgiving.com/lynn-and-andrew

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