Support Fin's Paralympic Dream
My name is Fin Graham. I am 18 years old and live in the Highlands of Scotland. I was born with bilateral club feet and have no calf muscle and this means I can ride in the paracycling category of C3. Since Feb 2017 I have been on British Cycling’s Paracycling Foundation programme, called ‘Track2Tokyo’ with the hope that in 2020 I may be good enough to compete at the Paralympics.
This has cost a lot of money I have progressed, both in terms of kit and in travel, as I live in the Highlands of Scotland and all the training camps and races are in England, Wales and more recently Europe.
I became the British National Paracycling Champion in the Road Race in 2017 and retained this title in 2018.
Last October on my 18th birthday I had a huge blow to my health when I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with SLE (Systemic lupus Erethematosus) with severe kidney damage. I spent a week in hospital very unwell, but thankfully I started to respond to the drugs and am now in remission. I remain on immune-suppressing drugs daily which means I am susceptible to severe infection.
But I am VERY determined and a month later being discharged I was back on the bike - albeit tentatively as I had lost so much weight and was very weak. But 2 months after this diagnosis I was back at the Velodrome in Manchester at an International event in a team sprint and gained a silver medal, second only to the gold medalists from Rio 2016.
I have had some generous single donations from some sporting bodies and others from e.g.friends, my local bike race (The Strathpuffer), the local church and even my old school MTB club. These have all helped me to get to this point in my development. Also since October 2017 I have had my travel paid for by ‘Moray Estates’ which has been SO amazing - I could not have got this far without them.
All this help plus my training has paid off so far and my proudest moment was being selected to represent GB at the Paracycling World Championships in Italy this July. I was delighted - as were my coaches - to come 11th in the individual Time Trial and 8th in the Road Race, demonstrating my potential at world level! However, I had to cover the costs to get to and stay in Italy as I am not yet on the full-time funded GB programme. This is my medium term goal.
WHY I NEED SUPPORT
When I am not training or racing I work at my local Tesco store. They have been great at giving me time off to attend training camps, races and have offered me extra shifts when I can manage. However the money I earn is only a fraction of what I need to develop my racing to the point where I get taken onto the full time, funded programme. To achieve this I am required to have consistently good results at International level and my concern is that this dream will come to nothing if I can’t find the funds to continue. In order to get to achieve this I need some more specialist kit , and also support with accommodation at international races. In addition to this, I am on the Elite Scottish Performance Programme which results in my spending 3 days a week training at the Glasgow Velodrome with the other riders on the team - this is a return journey of almost 400 miles.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
I am a supporter of STEPS - a charity that ‘doesn’t take walking for granted’ and was invited to Chelsea Football training ground to meet lots of children with club feet in June to hopefully inspire them, show them that anything is possible and that having club feet doesn’t have to be the end of your dreams! I will continue to do this and promote paracycling to as many people with disabilities as possible. My disability has never held me back and is in fact now providing me with the opportunity to represent my country.
Being part of the ‘paracycling world’ has given me focus and purpose in my life.
If you are able, please help me to reach that next level!
WHAT WILL YOUR DONATIONS BE USED FOR?
The outstanding things I need are:
Race Wheels - second hand £500 to buy the ones I have on loan or I have to return them
TT Bike - £1300 to buy (heavily subsidised by Billy Bilsland Cycles) Currently using on loan.
Smart Turbo Trainer (linked to internet, other riders) to make best use of winter indoor training - £950 in the sale
Accommodation at international races - £2000
DI2 (electronic gearing) - £1139 (reduced)
On top of these financial costs I am also looking for a vehicle sponsor - so if anyone knows of anyone who can help please get in touch. My mum really needs her car back! I have to transport 2-3 bikes at times, and plenty kit, up and down the country so public transport is impossible.
I would really appreciate any donations towards helping this dream and be forever grateful if you would also consider sharing it with social media contacts!
Posted by Fin Graham
4 months agoShare
Can’t believe I have reached my target so quickly it was only possible through your kind support. Thank you for believing in me
Posted by Fin Graham
5 months agoShare
Totally blown away by the response so far! Thankyou so much to friends and strangers alike who have shown that you believe in me! If you don't already know what I am going to spend your hard earned cash on it is at the bottom of my story. Please continue to share. Thanks so much. Fin