Frenford Falcons wheelchair basketball star honours memory of grandfather with marathon
PUBLISHED: 12:01 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:54 11 May 2020
Frenford Falcons wheelchair basketball star Nicole Benjamin completed a marathon around her driveway to honour her grandfather who died over Easter.
The 35-year-old, who lives in Hainault, was keen to show her support for NHS Charities Together to contribute to the Covid-19 relief effort.
But Nicole has to shield herself during lockdown due to taking immunosuppressants for her arthritis so decided a walk around her driveway with her crutches would be the best option to help out and has raised thousands for the cause.
“Unfortunately my grandfather passed away the day before Good Friday and I wanted to do something to honour his memory essentially,” she said.
“At the same time I had lots of emails asking for volunteers for various things. I work at Chigwell School, and know they’re doing some good things like the DT department is making face masks.
“I just wanted to try do something to give back as well, but because of the medication that I’m on, I’m needing to shield at home at the moment so I knew whatever I decided to do it would have to be at home.”
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Although she admitted it was challenging, Nicole said having people walk past and donate helped spur her on.
“Definitely challenging, it took me just shy of 14 hours non-stop in the end, and my joints were definitely not up for that so I needed to use my walking sticks and things to get around.
“The good thing about doing it on the driveway is that there were a couple of people passing by during the day, so not much, but every couple of hours I got to say hello to someone until nightfall.
“Thankfully I had all my friends calling me up and cheering me on through social media which helped to keep me going. Knowing what I was doing it for as well of course. And I’d set up a just giving page, so seeing donations come in inspired me even more.
“Originally I said £920 as my grandad celebrated his 92nd birthday while he was in hospital and thankfully it was just before lockdown so we got to spend it with him.
“I thought a random number to tie in with that, but with all the kind donations and gift aid included I’m past £1,500 now.”
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicolebenjamin26.
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