Your Pick Me Ups!

Jodie’s in­vis­i­ble dis­abil­ity doesn’t stop her

Pick Me Up! - - OUR PICK ME UPS! -

My dad Phil, 48, al­ways said I was born to be an ath­lete. Ap­par­ently, I’d run around the house, car­ry­ing bags of car­rots, aged three!

I was a happy little kid, de­spite be­ing born deaf.

I’d never let it hold me back, had cochlear im­plants fit­ted when I was only 14 months old, loved to sing and feel mu­sic through the vi­bra­tions.

At school, I ex­celled in sport, too. Track, field, and rugby.

OK, I missed the whis­tle a few times, but I learned to watch peo­ple closely, spot gaps in play, then pounce!

Leav­ing school, I joined an elite rugby pro­gramme

at Lough­bor­ough Col­lege.

And at 16, I made the Eng­land Un­der 18s, and the Women’s Deaf 7s.

There were oth­ers like me, playing with their dis­abil­i­ties.

At 15, I qual­i­fied for the Deafly­mpics as a track ath­lete.

You prob­a­bly wouldn’t know – but it’s been go­ing on longer than the Par­a­lympics.

This June, I trav­elled to Tur­key to com­pete with 4,000 other deaf ath­letes.

I rep­re­sented Great Bri­tain in the 100m and 200m races.

GB won nine medals. And I made it through the qual­i­fy­ing rounds, to the fi­nals!

Sadly, the event isn’t funded. I even have to buy my kit.

Next April, I’m trav­el­ling to Aus­tralia for the first World Deaf 7s, with the women’s Eng­land deaf squad.

And in Win­ter, to Be­larus for the Deaf In­door Ath­letic Cham­pi­onships.

I just need to fundraise to get there!

Sport makes me feel alive. Hav­ing a dis­abil­ity should never hold you back from chas­ing your dreams.

For more info on Jodie’s fundrais­ing, see www.go­fundme.com/ jodies-deaf­ly­mpic-dream

Jodie Oun­sley, 16, Dews­bury, West York­shire

Early start: as a car­rotlift­ing champ! I ran in the 100m and 200m Rep­re­sent­ing gb in june’s deafly­mpics

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