Meet the inspirational girl, 4, who is improving the lives of disabled children in the North East

 

Penny Turner took part in the Mini Great North Run to raise money for The Sunshine Fund.

Four-year-old Penny Turner knows first hand how The Chronicle Sunshine Fund helps to change lives.

Penny was born with Myleomeningocyle Spina Bifada – a condition which causes limited mobility and bowel and bladder dysfunction.

In 2015, she was gifted a wheelchair by the Sunshine Fund as she was too young to receive help from the NHS.

And her mum Heather says it has changed the youngster’s life.

Now, Penny has defied the odds by winning the wheelchair event in the Mini Great North Run on Saturday.

Smiling from ear to ear, she couldn’t hide her delight as she crossed the finish line in front of the cheering crowd.

Speaking before the race, Heather said: “When the opportunity to raise funds for The Sunshine Fund came along, we just knew it was the perfect opportunity to thank you to them.

“Penny is racing in a wheelchair funded by The Sunshine Fund, which without this she wouldn’t have been able to enter the race.

“The charity will always mean so much to us and having the opportunity to give something back and support other families is amazing.”

The Sunshine Fund buys specialist equipment for disabled children in the North East, and picked Penny as part of its Go Bananas campaign. During the Great North Run weekend, Penny wasn’t the only one trying to make a difference for children just like her.

Almost 30 youngsters, dubbed Team Mini Sunshine, took part in the Junior and Mini Great North Runs wearing their bright yellow shirts.

And more than 70 adults chose to raise cash for The Sunshine Fund by taking part in the Great North Run on Sunday. Lauren Thompson, from The Sunshine Fund, said: “We’ve had an absolutely amazing weekend seeing our kids and adult runners take part in Great North Run.

“They are all absolute superstars and we couldn’t be prouder of them.

“Part of what we do is raising awareness of disabilities in the North East and this is a perfect example of how children with additional needs and disabilities can still take part in sporting events.”

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