A Jewish boy who was the joint winner of Jewish News’ young community hero award earlier this year is set to take part in a fundraising run for the charity of one of his own young heroes.
Rio Woolf, 10, will raise money for Camp Simcha at this weekend’s Maccabi GB Community Fun Run after being inspired by Lucy Ronson Allalouf, 11, who he met at Jewish News’ Night of Heroes event in February.
The pair were named joint winners and Lucy made such an impression on Rio, who is an amputee – nicknamed ‘Baby Bladerunner’ – that he decided to raise money for the charity she supports.
“I wanted to raise money for a children’s charity and chose Camp Simcha because I was inspired by Lucy,” he said.
“When I saw her nomination film and how she supports Camp Simcha by selling her amazing paintings to raise money to help other sick children, I decided I wanted to run for them.”
Both Rio and Lucy have overcome their own obstacles. Rio was born with tibial aplasia, a one-in-a-million deficiency, which resulted in the amputation of his right leg through the knee.
Likewise, Lucy was born with a rare brain tumour, for which she underwent brain surgery at 14 months old and she now requires daily medications and injections, along with regular hospital visits.
But there’s no stopping either of them, with sport fanatic Rio looking forward to representing GB at the Paralympics, and Lucy painting canvases to fundraise for Camp Simcha, which supports families coping with serious childhood illness.
Rio’s proud mum Juliette said: “When we showed Rio the list of charities he could choose from to support, he immediately said he wanted to run for a children’s charity and talked about Lucy.
“He was very moved by her story and her bravery and very impressed with the beautiful paintings she sells for Camp Simcha. He decided there and then he wanted to run for Lucy and all the sick children that this wonderful charity supports.
“It’s fantastic that through meeting Lucy at Night of Heroes, Rio has been inspired to get involved with supporting Camp Simcha.”
Rio will also have his father, Trevor, by his side on Sunday, who said: “We’re really looking forward to a fun day out on Sunday.
“I’m an experienced runner, but am pretty sure Rio will outrun me. Our aspiring Paralympian is getting faster all the time.”
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