Blind Ben, 17, from Exmouth gears up to run his first marathon with his father
PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 January 2016
An Exmouth father has spoken of his pride in his blind son’s unstoppable zest for life as the pair gear up to run the London Marathon.
WESC Foundation pupil Ben Lupton, 17, who was born with microphthalmia, is running with his dad Tim to raise money for charity - the pair will be tethered for the challenge.
Microphthalmia is a disorder in which one or both eyes are abnormally small.
Father-of-three Tim said he and has partner Jenny have found it ‘tough’ at times, but that Ben had never let his condition hold him back.
Tim, of Gloucester Road, said: “I am really proud of Ben and can’t wait to complete the marathon with him.
“Ben has always wanted to do the same things as others his age – he has never let his condition hold him back.
“We have taken the attitude as a family that we never give up and we stick at things. Ben is used to it now. He doesn’t know any different. Ben knows his limitations.
“But things have been tough for us. I started running as an escape really, so I could file things away in my mind.”
The Exeter Tesco worker also explained how he would help Ben during the marathon.
Tim revealed his son had run three half-marathons in preparation for the London Marathon in April.
The father-of-three added the pair would also be taking part in the Ride London cycle event in July.
The 43-year-old has urged the people of Exmouth to donate to the Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia and Coloboma (MACS) Support charity, because of the support they gave to families.
Tim continued: “Ben has run a few half-marathons already, and we are cranking things up slowly for London.
“We’re tethered to one another during a run, so if I want to warn Ben about something I will just pull him in my direction, but we also talk things through.
“For example, if we are approaching the middle of the pack, and we need to go faster, I will tell him that we need to pick up the pace.
“The MACS charity is like family to us. We found out about them when Ben was just seven years old - when we go there are more than 100 people at the hotel in Lancashire. I would urge people in Exmouth to donate as all of the money goes to the families.”
Ben explained why he was running the London Marathon.
The 17-year-old said despite his condition that he had an ‘active’ and very ‘happy’ life.
He also had a message for other people with sight difficuilties.
He said: “I have always liked running and swimming; my dad inspired me to take it up as he is also a runner.
“People with my condition should just be positive and if they decide that they want to take up running – then they should just do it.”
For more information, visit http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/microphthalmi or if you would like to donate, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TimLupton-1
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