€80k raised for Barretstown by determined ‘Team James’

By Brendan Grehan 

IT’S AN incredible amount of money but a 12-year-old boy from Lucan with the help of his parents and friends has raised in excess of €80,000 for Barretstown by running marathons and road races in his wheelchair.

James Casserly has completed two Dublin City marathons and is currently in training for the Limerick marathon in May.

Keith Russell James Casserly and Dan Naughton on Sunday after completing the Bohermeen half marathon

Keith Russell with James Casserly and Dan Naughton after completing the recent Bohermeen half-marathon

Just last Sunday, he completed the Bohermeen half marathon in Meath while being pushed by his father, Dan. What makes this all more remarkable is that James has cerebral palsy, which affects his lower limbs, an autoimmune condition, and juvenile arthritis but it does not stop him from having an active life. He is also recovering from breaking his leg twice.

James’ mother, Vicki told The Echo: “We have raised in excess of €80,000 for Barretstown so far. It is very hard to put a definite figure on it. The next race we are in training for is the Great Limerick Run in May which is a marathon. Then we will do the Dublin Race Series and the Dublin city marathon in October.”

A gifted young sportsman, James has just joined Lucan Harriers where he will do cross-country in their Paralympics section.

He also plays soccer regularly with the Esker Celtic frame football team.

Last year they came second in an International competition in Birmingham. A fervent Liverpool fan, his bedroom is a shrine to Anfield.

He has also been a mascot for the Republic of Ireland soccer team a number of times.

James’ marathon journey started when he got together with personal trainer, Mark Lacey.

Mark worked with James to develop his conditioning so that his body could withstand the shock of being pushed in an assistance chair over a 26.2 mile course. Mark pushed James for his first two marathons but is currently injured so Dan has stepped into the breach.

The last few months have been tough for James as he recovered from his broken leg.

Karl O’Toole, a sports masseur from Castlepark in Tallaght has joined Team James. On Sunday he ran the half marathon with Dan and James.

Apart from the marathons, Team James next project is a 5km run in Corkagh Park in September with all proceeds going to Barretstown.

Vicki says she is very proud of her son for all his hard work. She said; “He just wants to compete like anybody else. So he gets out there and he does it. Nothing holds him back and that’s the way it should be.”

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