As a child, Jack Kirkby played football and even achieved a black belt in jujitsu.

But in the summer of 2000, aged just 13, he was hit by a van whilst on his bike doing his paper round.

A passer-by saved his life by giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but he suffered major facial injuries and his eyes sustained severe pressure damage.

He lost the sight in his right eye permanently but although his left retina was reattached, his recovery was tortuously slow.

Spending long periods alone in his hospital room was tough.

“I found it extremely hard to cope and come to terms with all that had happened, and what I was going through,” he said.

One day, he found he was able to see the outline of some ‘Get Well Soon’ cards his parents had pinned to the wall and was able to count the number of fingers held up in front of his face. Thirty six days after the accident, he left the hospital, with his leg still in plaster.

Now 32, he is raising money for the school he attended as a child and where he now works - Linden Lodge - as well the charity Panathlon all by running in the Royal Parks half marathon accompanied by a guide.


"Panathlon gave me the opportunity to participate and learn new sports which have been fun and, most importantly to me, inclusive,” he added.

“I have been fortunate enough to meet other like-minded young athletes who have supported me through my development in the range of sports.

"Panathlon was introduced to me when I had serious road accident and it really helped to bring out my competitive spirit.”

Nearly two decades on from his accident, he has had a further ten eye operations and facial reconstruction.

His vision has been restored to the extent that he can be independent and go out with friends.

He initially found solo running difficult and ended up in A&E on one occasion after running into a neighbour’s wall.

But with his guide Nick Miller he built up his confidence and is now determined to complete 13.1 miles around central London at the event in October.

“The journey I have been on has been very difficult, emotionally, physically and psychologically,” Jack said.

“The loss of sight and trauma of the accident has had a massive impact and my recovery has been tough.

"However, I’m so determined to succeed in life.

"I missed a significant amount of schooling due to hospital appointments, and I want to prove to myself and others that just because I have a disability I’m just as capable as the next person.”

Running with Jack at the event will be his former teacher at Linden Lodge, Tim Richmond, plus fellow teacher John Judge as well as Nick.

"I have always admired Jack’s determination in overcoming adversity and rising to physical challenges," Tim added.

"His ‘can do’ attitude is inspirational. Jack always showed great competitive spirit in sports and represented Linden Lodge and his borough in competitions such as Panathlon with pride.

"I take great joy in having played some part in nurturing his desire for an active lifestyle from a young age and will be proud of him as we line up together at the start line of this year’s Royal Parks half marathon.”