‘It’s my dream to reach Paralympics’: Disabled teenager competing in triathlon to raise funds for racing wheelchair

A teenager will take place in a triathlon event this weekend, believed to be the biggest disability event of its kind in Europe, to raise money for a racing wheelchair.

Yasmina Bez, 14, from Phoebe’s Place, Catford, who lives with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) which affects her mobility will be taking part in the Superheroes Winter Wonderwheels event, organised by comic book and movie giant Marvel.

The event will see Yasmina, attempt to walk 5km on her adapted RaceRunner mobility equipment dressed as Wonder Woman and possibly also a 10km cycle if the equipment is available on the day.

She said: “I have been working so hard to try and reach my dream of one day which is the dream of competing as a horse rider in the Paralympics, but one step at a time.

Yasmina Bez, far left, has represented Lewisham as a young MP (Picture: Katie Brown)

“My scoliosis is getting worse, I’m do not want to stop riding or take a break, till I reach my dream, but I’m scared that my condition won’t allow me to do so.

“I’m entering the event this year again to raise money for horse riding fees and a racing wheelchair, to challenge myself and fight even more.”

Yasmina Bez was diagnosed with FA aged eight. It is a rare, inherited disease which causes progressive nervous system damage and movement problems and worsens over time.

Yasmina has problems with her speech and uses a wheelchair most of the time.

She hopes to raise enough funds for a racing wheelchair to allow her to take place in a marathon when she reaches 18.

As well as representing Lewisham as a young MP with a special interest in accessibility and inclusivity, Yasmina is also a keen horse rider who has won several regional and national competitions.

She started horse-riding at the age of 11, initially as part of her therapy to improve her movement and strength, and found that as well as loving the sport, she had a real talent for it.

Her younger sister Anissa, 13, is also an accomplished rider who volunteers at Mottingham Farm stables at the weekend, partly in order to help her sister with the tasks she can’t manage.

The event will take place at Dorney Lake near Windsor in Berkshire, one of the London 2012 Olympic sites. It will see hundreds of children across the country with disabilities and their chosen “sidekicks” gather to complete a triathlon course of varying lengths.

Participants can opt to run, walk, skip or wheel their way to the finish line.

Yasmina’s family is being supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope, which helps families fundraise for children healthcare needs and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support whilst also providing donor reassurance.

Head of marketing and family support at Tree of Hope, Georgie Lowry, said: “We’re very proud to represent all of our superhero participants and will be cheering them on from the sidelines. It has been a brilliant way for our families to fundraise and we hope they enjoy the day.”

Donations can be made at: https://www.treeofhope.org.uk/yasmina-bez/

Pictured top: Yasmina Bez using her adapted RaceRunner mobility equipment (Pictures: Katie Brown and Touria Bez)

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