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Barry woman to run marathon for disabled children’s gym

Megan Cooke is raising money for a new slope adapted for youngsters with Down Syndrome

Megan Cooke hopes to raise £2,000 at the London Marathon this year for Barry YMCA.

A CHARITY runner hopes to raise £2000 for Barry YMCA in April at the London Marathon.  

Megan Cooke, 27, is a gymnastics volunteer coordinator for under 5s at the YMCA, a worldwide movement created over 165 years ago.

Megan saw on Twitter that YMCA England and Wales was offering the chance to run the London marathon. She said: “I am a YMCA youth ambassador, so I work quite closely with them already. 

“I requested if I could split the money so I could raise it for not only YMCA England and Wales, but for YMCA Barry too, as I know a lot of my little ones need some new equipment.” 

The charity helps children from newborns to the age of 18. The youngest at Barry YMCA currently is nine weeks old. 

“One of the pieces of the equipment I want to raise money for is a gymnastics slope to do forward and backwards rolls,” said Megan.  

“It is specially adapted so kids with disabilities can use it. We have children with Down syndrome, and it will be a lot safer for them to use this slope. 

“We are continuously trying to grow gymnastics throughout the Vale of Glamorgan – we are trying to push to do some satellite programmes so our parent and toddler classes can spread out further.”  

Megan said: “I just want to keep fundraising for those who are less fortunate than me.”

YMCA works with young homeless people and young carers. Megan said: “The whole goal is just helping young people – it is honestly amazing. It is quite easy to see the great work YMCA does.” 

Megan has only ever run half marathons. “Two of them were for charity and that is what pushed me. My mum had a liver transplant and I was raising money for a support group for her and that inspired me.  

“Before that I couldn’t run to the end of the street! I just want to keep fundraising for those who are less fortunate than me and need more help. This is an amazing opportunity to push myself further.” 

She struggles with training sometimes as she suffers from Crohn’s disease. But she has lots of support from the parents at the YMCA gym and her fellow youth ambassadors.  

She said: “Sometimes my Crohn’s disease does take over – but I will keep pushing, I will succeed! Even if I walk it, I will get past the line for everyone.” 

Megan has never run a marathon before, but is determined to cross the line.

Megan wants to start raising her £2,000 goal before April. She is holding two raffles in the next few months.  

There will be a raffle for children at the YMCA gym with prizes ranging from teddy bears to free gym classes. Barry Town FC has also agreed to help with the raffle by providing signed T-shirts and footballs

“I work quite closely with them and I am also hoping to get something from Cardiff City as well,” she said.

On March 26 a comedy evening called Joke in the Oak will be held at Jenner Park Football Club. Megan is looking for businesses to help her out with the adult raffle to be drawn on the night. 

“If any business out there that I can help promote has anything that could be donated, I would be extremely thankful.  

“Even with the children’s raffle – if you have toys that aren’t used anymore they could be donated. Any help would be absolutely amazing.” 

A spokesperson for YMCA England and Wales said: “We’re thrilled and so grateful to Megan for taking part in the London Marathon for YMCA England & Wales, and for YMCA Barry. 

“We wish her the very best of luck in her incredible achievement and will be cheering her on on the day!” 

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