Young Citizen: Apsiring marathon runner Karina, 7, overcomes heart condition
PUBLISHED: 17:10 09 August 2018
Seven-year-old Karina may have been born with a hole in her heart but that hasn't stopped her from running two kilometres every weekend.
Aspiring marathon runner Karina Iadhar, of Park Road, Ilford, has been nominated for the Young Citizen Award for her dedication to completing the 2km junior park run, in Central Park, Dagenham, every Sunday for the last year-and-a-half.
She was born with Atrial Septal Defect Murmur (ASD) – commonly known as a “hole in the heart” – which meant that she had to have surgery aged one and will require regular check-ups until she is 16.
“I go to meet new friends and get exercise,” said Karina, on her motivation to keep running.
She added: “I want to become a marathon runner and hope to compete in the Olympics one day.”
She likes to encourage her friends to join her by telling them it is fun, it is all free and will help them get healthy.
Karina was nominated by her mum Hardeep, who regularly volunteers at the park run.
“Almost eight years ago she had open heart surgery in order to patch up her heart,” she said.
“Now it is important that she maintains a healthy lifestyle.
The St Peters and St Paul’s Primary School pupil has received three wristbands for completing the park run more than 50 times - which equates to the same distance as an ultra-marathon.
Last December she also donned a Father Christmas outfit and took part in a Santa Run to raise money for St Francis Hospice.
Karina also regularly raises money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where her surgery took place.
The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.
It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card.
The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards.
You can nominate any person who lives or works in Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.