A Morecambe TV star will take part in the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run to raise funds for the disabled.
Cherylee Houston, better known to the nation as Izzy Armstrong in Coronation Street, will return to run on Sunday May 20, raising funds and awareness for TripleC.
The 42-year-old actress is the driving force behind TripleC – a group of disabled and non-disabled people focused on changing inclusivity to the arts and speeding up the process of making the workplace more accessible for the next generation.
Last year Cherylee, who grew up in Morecambe, was joined by a group of electric wheelchair users and their carers on the city centre start line, and this year she hopes to have an even bigger team.
“The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run was brilliant last year,” said former Morecambe High School pupil Cherylee.
“The enjoyment of doing it together was incredible.
“We had five electric wheelchair users last year and we want as many as possible this year, so come and get involved.”
TripleC came about through acting workshops Cherylee used to hold almost 20 years ago.
She was contacted by a young woman who had participated 15 years ago, who told Cherylee that the skills she had taken away from the workshop had made her live her life in a very different way than first expected.
The workshops helped her build up her confidence and self-esteem and come to terms with her disability.
“It made me think about how we could help the next generation,” said Cherylee.
“Not just creating new actors but using the tools we learn in acting to instill confidence and self-advocacy in any disabled young person.”
With this in mind, Cherylee got back in touch with the youngsters who had been involved in her acting workshops, now all in their 30s, to form TripleC.
Having already started a youth theatre, the group has now launched a Disabled Artist Networking Community, where 50 artists were able to attend the first meeting as the money raised from the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run helped to pay for their transport and care assistance.
Cherylee said: “TripleC is run on a largely voluntary basis at the moment, and although it takes up a lot of time it is something I am incredibly passionate about.
“I have seen the difference it can make if you give somebody the confidence to be what they want to be and have been through the experiences of being told ‘it’s not for you’.
“My pain kicked in at the age of 11 and I became a wheelchair user at the age of 24.
“I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder which means I am in constant pain and my joints dislocate very easily.
“Even though I use an electric wheelchair, keeping myself upright for a long time and going over the bumps in the road for the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run was very painful but such an achievement.
“Living with constant pain has taught me that there are a lot of positives in it too, it’s all about how you choose to deal with it.”
Cherylee and her team hope to raise enough money this year to purchase a computer so they can edit the work of the young people and continue to fund access and care where needed.
To find out more about TripleC or to make a donation visit www.triplec.website.