29-year-old Star Bickerstaff will be taking part in a 215-mile ultra-marathon in the new year to kick off a series of challenges that she will be taking part in next year to raise money for Blind Veterans UK.
Star has decided to fundraise for the charity as they supported her father Paul, who sadly passed away in June last year. She says: “My dad was my biggest hero and the bravest man I know. From a very young age, I helped look after and care for my wonderful dad, who suffered with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and as a result, went blind”.
Her father Paul joined the Queens Lancashire Regiment in February 1987. Sadly, he began to lose his sight due to MS. Fortunately Paul found out about Blind Veterans UK and started to receive support from the charity in 2015. Star says: “Blind Veterans UK is close to my heart because they really do help! He was a regular visitor to the charity’s Llandudno Centre. It was there - for the first time - myself and my mum received some help with his care. Not only did they provide some well-deserved respite for my mum, but they took the time to get to know my Dad and support him in anyway they could.
“They also spent time with him to enable him to re-engage with his love of painting - provided him with equipment and the knowledge of how he could paint using his mouth. Nothing was ever too much trouble and I have never met such kind and caring people in my life”Star Bickerstaff, fundraiser
The ultra-marathon challenge will be the start of a series of challenges that Star plans on taking part in next year. She says: “Over the next few years I’m going to be attempting a number of challenges. Other challenge in the pipeline include a Half Iron Man and I will attempt to beat the current World Record for running the Welsh Coastal Path”.
This will not be the first challenge that Star has done for Blind Veterans UK, as last year she took part in another ultra-marathon which she completed in 70 hours raising over £3,000. Star says: “I want to continue to contribute in any way that I can, to ensure that others like my Dad can continue to be supported by the charity.
“As I’m sure others who have cared for loved ones and gone on to lose them will understand, the death of my Dad left me with a huge void to fill and an identity to rebuild – I’d always been known as the girl who cared for her father. Doing these fundraising challenges have allowed me to do that without losing my connection with my Dad. I’m going to put my focus on helping others like him by raising funds for Blind Veterans UK”.