A soccer coach who has cerebral palsy is taking on the London Marathon for a charity which helped him when he was a youngster.
Patrick Barden, 24, is taking part in the annual challenge on Sunday, April 23, but will tackle the 26-mile route using his walking frame, walking about seven miles each day for four days.
He is aiming to raise money for a charity which, he says, “taught him everything”.
He went to conductive education sessions at the former, Cerebral Palsy Care (CPC) charity which used to be based in Cliffe Woods. The charity closed down several years ago but its founder Rod Black set up a new charity to help children and adults with cerebral palsy and other motor difficulties, Step and Learn, based in Frindsbury.
Mr Barden, who lives with his parents, Lisa and Colin in Shorne, will raise money for it by completing his marathon feat.
He said: “The CPC charity taught me to do everything. It gave me every opportunity to succeed and achieve things I never thought possible.
“I attended sessions at the CPC centre until I went to infants school in Horsted and still went to summer camps at CPC while at school.”
Mr Barden went to the Math School in Rochester and graduated from the University of Greenwich with a sports and exercise science degree.
He is now coaching Year 7 football at St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, in Gravesend, and says he wants to help children who are in a similar position as he was when he was a child.
Mr Barden has been training with personal trainer, Tim Billings since November in preparation for the feat.
He said: “I became a trustee when the new centre (Step and Learn) opened.
“I am doing the London marathon so Step and Learn can continue to help children progress physically and become as independent as possible.
“Raising funds will help the charity do this as it will enable them to keep the sessions free of charge meaning that attendance is kept to a maximum.
Mr Black, chairman of Step and Learn, said: “He is a very determined young man and doesn’t let anything hold him back. He even did a parachute jump for us a few years back and what he’s doing now is just brilliant.”
To sponsor Mr Barden, visit his online fundraising page here.