A Stoke-on-Trent dad taking on his first ever marathon says thoughts of his daughter Lexie’s 'beautiful smile' will help him get around.
James Leech from Blurton will run the 26.2 mile London Marathon on Sunday (28 April) to raise money for the for the Down’s Syndrome Association.
The charity is one close to the hearts of James and his family, who found out Lexie had Down's syndrome a week after she was born in 2011.
He said: "When you first find out you have a child with Down's syndrome you go through every emotion.
"What the Down's Syndrome Association is great for is providing information and support to new parents.
"They are there for people for every stage of their life.
"Everyone is an individual, who will develop differently and need different help.
"Lexie is fortunate in that she has as she has a close loving family and friend network, but not all children and adults with Down’s syndrome are as fortunate.
"Ever since Lexie was born I’ve used fundraising for the Down’s Syndrome Association as a way of channelling my emotions and energy to do something good for children and adults like her."
James say the charity also helps to educate people about the condition, and he wants to raise awareness too.
He said: "Lexie would light up any room she walks into, and myself, family and friends are blessed to have her.
"People with Down's syndrome have traits including love, warmth, care and determination.
"I think if people without Down's syndrome demonstrated more of those types of behaviours, the world would be a better place.
"Lexie does fantastically well at gymnastics, dancing and swimming.
"I think by sharing all of that, and seeing just what a fantastic life both she has - and what she provides to others - hopefully goes to show new parents and people who need educating about Down's syndrome, that there is nothing to fear."
The London Marathon isn’t James’ first fundraising effort for the DSA. Over the years, the 36-year-old has completed triathlons, the three peaks challenge and half marathons, but this will be first full marathon distance.
He has already smashed his £3,000 target for this event, meaning he has now raised £10,000 for the charity since Lexie was born.
To sponsor James go to his website here.