Marathon runner Nicky tells London Live why she's raising awareness of stigma and discrimination

22 April 2016

Nicky Ashwell in her Leonard Cheshire running vestYesterday, London Live News interviewed Nicky Ashwell, who is running the London Marathon for us this Sunday.

Nicky, who was born without a right hand, has the 'world's most life-like' bionic hand.

The interviewer, Reya El-Salahi, first asked Nicky how preparations were going.

'They're going ok. I haven't run for about four weeks but I think it's going to be fine. I've got all my miles banked so I'm just hoping on the day I can really pull it off.' — Nicky

She then asked what stigma and discrimination Nicky had personally faced:

'As a child I never really felt that I was that encouraged to do any sport. I did it because it was part of classes, and I was terrible at it. And my parents encouraged me.

'But other than that I never really found anything that really allowed me to be active and to get involved in sport. Until I got to about 18 and I discovered running.'

Nicky Ashwell running in her Leonard Cheshire vestOur research has found 57% of disabled people are currently doing no sport or physical activity, with a lack of suitable opportunities cited as the largest barrier to participation.

I think the London Marathon's a really great example of how people can do anything they set their mind to. It's an amazing sporting achievement that thousands of people will compete in and complete on Sunday.
How much do you think the attitude you faced was because of your disability?
I think people underestimated me, and often they still do. It's not their fault, they don't know what I can do. And sometimes I don't know what I can do until I do it. I just have to believe in myself and go for it.

Finally, Reya asked why Nicky was running to support our charity:

They promote loads of good causes that help disabled people. For example, last week I attended a hustings event they did for the upcoming mayoral elections. They got together a bunch of disabled people who were able to put their questions to all of the candidates, and talk about some of the issues really important to them. Such as transport accessibility, housing and also disability hate crime, which is actually on the up at the moment.
What message do you hope people seeing you running the marathon on Sunday will take from your involvement?
I hope they take the message that people can do anything they want. Don't underestimate anyone because if you put your mind to something you can achieve what you want.

We wish Nicky — and all the other runners who are supporting us (over 90 of them!) — the very best of luck in the London Marathon this Sunday.

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