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Brave Hampstead PhD student with cerebral palsy in first fundraising walk for charity

PUBLISHED: 12:19 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:39 12 September 2017

Jessi Parrott was inspired to embark on a 100 metre fundraising walk after meeting actress Keira Knightley seven years ago. Picture: Starlight Children’'s Foundation

Jessi Parrott was inspired to embark on a 100 metre fundraising walk after meeting actress Keira Knightley seven years ago. Picture: Starlight Children’'s Foundation

Archant

A 25-year-old PhD student with cerebral palsy has walked 100 metres to raise funds for a charity granting wishes for seriously ill children.

Jessi Parrott walked 100 metres to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Picture: Starlight Children's Foundation Jessi Parrott walked 100 metres to raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation. Picture: Starlight Children's Foundation

Jessi Parrott’s neurological disorder affects her mobility and causes her painful muscle spasms strong enough to partially dislocate her hip and leave her bent over in pain.

Whilst 100m might not sound like a mammoth distance, it was certainly a stretch for Jessi who has never walked for anything other than physiotherapy before.

She completed her challenge as part of “Parallel London” fun run at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday, September 3 walking in her frame alongside her mum, Bev Chambers, and was delighted by her official time of 9 minutes 16 seconds.

She said: “I had expected to do the walk in an hour, based on my speed in training. My official time was a lovely, unexpected surprise. It had a lot to do with the atmosphere being so incredibly supportive, and watching everybody else do things that were similarly stretching for them - I just couldn’t help but move fast because I was so inspired.

“At times, it felt like my feet were moving on their own, which is a sensation I’ve never experienced before. Usually every step takes a noticeable amount of effort. I’m so glad to have been able to do this to give back to Starlight. It has been a huge boost for my self-confidence.”

Jessi, of Highgate Road, Hampstead, took on the challenge to raise money for Starlight Children’s Foundation, which granted her wish to meet actress Keira Knightley seven years ago.

She said: “The impact is something I’ve carried with me ever since. It made me realise I have something to offer the world. If you’d told my 18-year-old self I would be doing a PhD now I would have laughed because of the level of discomfort I was in.”

Jessi decided she wanted to meet actress Keira Knightley who starred in the film version of “Pride and Prejudice” which she watched as her “comfort story” whilst stuck in bed and unable to turn pages.

The keen student is now at the University of Warwick studying disability casting conventions.

So far Jessi has raised £730. To sponsor her visit justgiving.com/fundraising/parrott-does-parallel.

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