23 October 2017

Team Zoe tackles a marathon challenge in New York

Zoe celebrating finishing the London Marathon 2016Sparks super supporter Zoe North is making a transatlantic marathon effort to raise money for pioneering child health research

Zoe, from Surrey, who has cerebral palsy, will be travelling to America to take on the huge challenge of the TCS New York City Marathon this November. Zoe will be raising money for Sparks, having been told as a child she would never walk as a result of her condition.

Born three months premature and weighing just 2lb and 2oz, Zoe was diagnosed with life-long condition, cerebral palsy which can cause extreme difficulty with balance, muscle weakness and coordination, the condition makes even getting out of bed each day a challenge.

In 2016 at the age of 18, Zoe North defied all odds and took on the huge challenge of participating in the Virgin Money London Marathon, completing the course over five days.

This year Zoe will be going one step further, travelling over 3,500 miles to take part in the TCS New York City Marathon. She will be joined by a team of 16 friends, family, and supporters from Deutsche Bank for the marathon on 5 November, 2017.

Despite the long recovery period she needed after completing her first marathon, and the months of painful physiotherapy and training needed to prepare for New York, Zoe is determined to complete another 26.2 miles on American soil while raising money for children’s medical research.

Sparks will use the money raised to fund pioneering research into treatment for fetal membrane rupture, which causes 40% of premature births. The project, led by Dr Tina Chowdhury, aims to engineer a special membrane that could help heal the damage. Dr Chowdhury hopes this will give more children a future free from health problems associated with premature birth.

Read more about the project →

Zoe will be walking between five and six miles a day for five days, completing the New York Marathon course on marathon Sunday, 5 November, with over 50,000 other runners taking part.

Deutsche Bank employees from offices in the US, UK and Germany, who were inspired by Zoe when she spoke at a fundraising gala, will also run the marathon on the final day of Zoe’s challenge.

Zoe says: “I am nervous but so excited to be taking this challenge all the way to New York! I cannot thank the team from Deutsche Bank enough for all their support – physically, mentally and with fundraising. It plays a huge part in motivating me to cross the finish line!”

Elvira Morrison, Head of Sparks, says: “For many seriously ill children, research is their only hope, yet paediatric research is desperately underfunded. I’m constantly amazed by what Zoe and her Team have achieved, they’re all incredible!

“The money raised will make a huge difference to finding new treatments and cures for children with complex and rare conditions throughout the UK.”

Support Team Zoe’s marathon effort →