Last year, eleven year old Poppy Jones realised her dream of competing in the Cardiff Triathlon. This was particularly challenging for Poppy as she has chronic lung disease and quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. This means she can’t sit, stand, roll or support herself and life is a daily challenge for her, but having a life-limiting condition doesn’t stop her having fun.
Poppy’s Dad Rob helped make her dream come true by pushing/pulling her around the course using custom made equipment specially designed by our Innovation Centre (CIC).
The father and daughter team will be once again rising to the challenge, taking part in the Swansea Triathlon on 28th May.
Rob’s motivation for doing this is simply to help his daughter: “taking part in this triathlon is so exciting for her and psychologically it will really benefit her. She gets so frustrated at the limits her condition puts on her and this will really focus her mind on what she can do. Poppy doesn’t think ‘I can’t’ but rather ‘with a little help I can’. I’ve got my work cut out though as Poppy doesn’t want to just take part – she wants to win!”
The team at team at the Innovation Centre, who designed the equipment that allowed Poppy to take part in the Triathlon last year, took this opportunity to re-design some of the equipment to allow Poppy to compete on an even larger scale.
“Last year, we designed a chair and boat in Poppy’s favourite colour – yellow,” says Dr Ross Head from the CIC.
“For this year’s challenge, we’ve modified both products to make them more efficient; to make them faster – and to change the look to match Poppy’s new favourite colour, orange!
“Poppy’s also grown a lot since last year’s triathlon and the boat we built last year was too small. So I redesigned the boat to be bigger, however this meant it would be heavier, so I started from scratch using everything I had learnt about hydrodynamics to ensure the boat would be fast, efficient and create the minimum resistance so that Rob could swim the course. This year’s boat uses a V-shaped tri- hull. This allows speed through the water but is given stability by the two smaller outrigger hulls.
“Poppy’s Triathlon Chair has also been upgraded to make it faster and more comfortable. The guys at V-Trak very kindly donated some high quality wheels to help them roll to the finish line. It has upgraded bespoke components which will ensure efficiency, a speedy transition from cycling to running and ensure Poppy’s safety.“
The CIC team recently tested the boat out on the water (see below for photos).
You can sponsor Rob and Poppy through their Just Giving page.