Golden ticket winner to run for amputee awareness

May 13, 2021 BY

Kerryn Harvey has been dedicated to helping amputees achieve their sporting dreams since losing her arm to a flesh eating bacteria. Photos: SUPPLIED

GOLDEN ticker winner Kerryn Harvey is using her win to help amputees achieve their sporting dreams while running 12 marathons in 12 months.

With four down, Ms Harvey faces an enormous challenge but no more than what she has already conquered in her lifetime.

“I am an amputee, and a founding director of a charity called START foundation,” she said.

“We empower amputees through sport, so I wanted to run 12 marathons in 12 months not only to fundraise for START but to raise awareness and show people you can achieve anything in life no matter your ability or disability.”

To celebrate a return of events in the region, the Surf Coast Shire created a social media competition to encourage people to reconnect and immerse themselves in the many events taking place in the environment.

Nearly 100 entries were received before councillor Mike Bodsworth announced Ms Harvey as the inaugural winner of the golden ticket, earning 10 free passes to local outdoor events.

In her winning comment, Ms Harvey said, “they’re all great events, I have not done the Surf Coast Trail Marathon as yet and planning on ticking it off my bucket list this year as a part of my 2021 challenge to complete 12 marathons in 12 months.”

In 2013, Ms Harvey’s life was forever changed when a cycling accident led to the flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis.

“The bacteria was taking over my body rapidly and my only option was to amputate my arm and shoulder to save my life,” she said.

“I wasn’t given a lot of chance of survival. That was eight years ago, and I fought back a long battle from there.”

Ms Harvey said returning to sport was a key factor in getting her life back together and inspired her to help others in the same way.

“I wanted to be able to ride a bike again, so I got it modified which costs a fair bit of money but it meant I was able to meet a number of amputees through competing in para-triathlons,” she said.

“There were so many people who couldn’t participate because they couldn’t get the funds to purchase a limb or sporting equipment modification.

“That is how START began, so that people could participate in sport and reap the benefits of being in the sporting community and doing what they are passionate about.”

In six years, the START foundation has given out 15 grants to help make amputee’s sporting dreams a reality.

“There is one guy who comes into mind, he was the first grant we gave and it changed his life,” she said.

“He was lost in the world because he loved sport but everything he was using to aid his disability was hurting him so we were able to provide him with his first leg that he could run on without causing pain.

“He is a young guy who has forged on with his life, he is now representing Australia as a para-triathlete trying to go to the Para-Olympics and I am proud to have been a part of that.”

Ms Harvey is set to use her golden ticket this weekend to run her fifth marathon for the year at the Kieser’s Great Ocean Road Running Festival before returning next month to complete the Surf Coast Trail Run Marathon.

“I think the key message is don’t give up and don’t believe that you can’t do something just because you have a disability – there is ways and means around it,” she said.

“Sometimes you have to think outside the square, do some homework and find what you need, but go for it.

“It is quite possible to succeed in whatever you want to do and whatever you are passionate about as long as you’re willing to try.”

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