A WOMAN who has battled ill health for ten years is taking on a personal challenge to help vulnerable children.

Mary Pearson, 47, from Yeadon has signed up to do the Barnardo’s iTRI triathlon, aiming to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run 26.2 miles over the course of a month.

Mary works as a Portage Home Visitor for the charity, helping children with disabilities.

She wants to get back some fitness ten years after being diagnosed with sarcoidosis - a disease of the immune system which affects the lungs, skin or lymph nodes causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and other symptoms. Mary has been left with a marked amount of joint pain and episodes of extreme fatigue, something that will make her upcoming challenge even harder.

“I had never heard of sarcoidosis when I was diagnosed” she said, “but at the time lots of different bits of my body were not doing the things they should and I was just happy that someone seemed to know why.

“I still have the condition but I am lucky that with medication it is under control. However it has left its mark as some of the medication has left me with a weight issue and although I can exercise it’s a long hard battle to get back to the old super fit me.

“So I am going use the iTRI challenge - not only to raise funds for vulnerable children and young people, but to challenge myself. And even though I have a whole month to do the triathlon in, for an unfit 47 year old it really will be a challenge.”

The Leeds Portage Service, where Mary works, helps children with disabilities in community activities and decisions about themselves. The service supports parents, carers and families in the community and in diverse cultural circumstances with guidance and advice.

The Barnardo’s iTRI challenge kicks off on June 1 and is free to enter. Rather than taking part in an organised race, participants like Mary have the freedom to complete the set distances for running, cycling and swimming in their own time and at their own pace from anywhere in the UK. They can either do the whole distance in one go or can spread the distances out over several days - or even the entire month of June.

Free registration is now open until June 14. The challenge can be completed at any time between June 1 and June 30. To sign up, download a fundraising pack or for more information visit: www.itri.barnardos.org.uk

Support Mary on Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mary-pearson89123123-itri2019