Swim teachers to run half-marathon in aid of Down Syndrome support group

Written by Emily Phillips

Swim teachers have been inspired by one of their pupils to run the Sheffield half-marathon.

Amos Popplewell, aged 6, has Down Syndrome and began swimming lessons at Swim! Sheffield last year.

Amos’ mother Rebecca, 36, is a member of Sheffield Down Syndrome Support Group (SHEDS). She said her son loves his lessons and the staff “are just a lovely bunch of human beings.”

The team plan to raise £2,000 for parent-run group SHEDS by running the Sheffield half-marathon on 27 March.

“He’s progressing slowly but having that kind of inclusive space is just so valuable to parents like me, where you don’t feel like you have to fight for your kid to have access to the same stuff.”

Mrs Popplewell said shortly before Christmas the plan to run the marathon on behalf of Amos and the SHEDS community was suggested to her by Swim! Sheffield manager Braxston Timms.

He said: “On opening week, we saw many children from all backgrounds come to swim! Amos was one of these and he stole everyone’s heart. Amos’s resilience has inspired the team at swim! Sheffield to take up their own group challenge by running the Sheffield half marathon.

“As an organisation, we value ourselves on breaking down barriers and going above and beyond, just as Amos has done.”

Amos, aged 6, inspired the team at Swim! Sheffield to fundraise for SHEDS

A team of six will run with Mrs Popplewell and her family there to support them.

Mrs Popplewell said the narrative around a Down Syndrome diagnosis can often be negative, and that the people at SHEDS are aiming to change that.

She said: “We are kind of there to smash all that fear away and be like, it’s fine, you’ll be great. Don’t think 20 years down the line. Enjoy your baby.

“There’s a whole community of people waiting to give your baby cuddles, because we think it’s brilliant.

“Welcome to the club.”

As a parent-led group, SHEDS is heavily reliant on money from fundraising to allow their work to continue, and the money raised would make a huge difference.

The community organise monthly meet-ups for families caring for individuals with Down Syndrome, as well as running a baby group and other one-off events such as for World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March.

To donate to Swim! Sheffield’s fundraiser, click here.
Further information about SHEDS can be found on their website.

Written by Emily Phillips

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