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AUDIO: Disabled teen supports fellow students in fundraising challenge

AUDIO: Disabled teen supports fellow students in fundraising challenge

Published at 8:17am 25th May 2016. (Updated at 2:40pm 25th May 2016)

A visually-impaired student from Henshaws Specialist College in Harrogate is gearing up for a new challenge.

Tom Oates, 19, of Bishop Monkton, is no stranger to achieving his goals, despite having a number of disabilities due to having Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, a genetic disorder which can affect sight, as well as presenting other physical difficulties such as kidney problems and obesity.

Now he has set himself the challenge of completing the Melmerby 10K on Sunday 29 May in a bid to raise funds for a MOTOmed movement trainer for the College's gym to help other students improve their mobility. 

Tom, who is almost blind, regularly takes part in 5K park runs at Fountains Abbey with his mum, Emma, who recently completed the London Marathon, but wanted to step up his distance and improve his time.

He will run independently, but with Emma as a guide to advise him on the footing and any obstacles.

Tom, who joined Henshaws after leaving St Aidan's School in Harrogate, is also training in the College gym at lunchtimes with the help of sports instructor Vicky Little.

Emma said: "Tom's focus is always on other people. He never thinks about his own problems, he wants to help others to reach their potential, which is why he decided to raise money for the movement trainer.

"He wants to give something back and this is why he has taken on the run."

The movement trainer is designed to help a range of people affected by disability who struggle to access exercise through more traditional options.

As they become enabled, this equipment 'intelligently' reduces its motorised involvement.

Stray FM's Lisa Darvill went to meet Tom to find out more about his challenge: