A visually impaired student is gearing up to take on his first running challenge to give back to the Guide Dogs charity.
Luke Johnson, 19, from Jarrow, has hemiplegic cerebral palsy and has suffered the loss of the right field of vision in both eyes as a result.
He was diagnosed at nine months old after suffering a bleed in his brain which resulted in a stroke, causing weakness to his right arm and leg.
Although the diagnosis has had a huge impact on Luke’s life, he is determined to take on the Simplyhealth Great North 10k challenge on Sunday, July 8, to help raise funds for Guide Dogs charity, who have supported him for the past 18 months.
Luke, who is currently on the waiting list to receive a guide dog, will be guided by his dad Jon at the event, which takes place in Gateshead.
The event will be the first organised run that the pair have taken part in and they hope to raise hundreds of pounds for charity.
Jon, 56, believes that having a guide dog will give Luke more independence.
He said: “We knew from early on that there were going to be many challenges in his life.
“Due to his condition, he has learning disabilities, mobility problems and visual impairment.
“He struggles on uneven ground and has difficulty processing information.
“Despite all this, Luke has a great sense of humour and has developed coping strategies to help him.
“He has recently been taught to use a white cane by Guide Dogs, which has boosted his confidence a lot and he’s also on the waiting list for a Guide Dog.
“We are so proud of Luke for wanting to take on such a huge challenge and we know he will give it his best shot.”
The pair will also be taking part in the Simplyhealth Great North Run in September.
South Tyneside College student Luke said: “Our training is going quite well, apart from a few falls.
“I need to wear a foot splint to support my right foot when running and I am waiting for a new one to help reduce the risk of falls when I’m training.
“We’ve never done anything like this before, so we will be going at our own pace and it doesn’t matter how long we take, as the cause is the most important thing.”
To donate visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/Luke-Johnson26