Sussex Disability Football League assistant secretary, Jess Barnes is due to compete in the Celebrity Superhero Tri with her assistance dog, Xenna by her side.
The Celebrity Superhero Tri is part of the only series within the UK that is dedicated to people with disabilities and long-term injuries. The series was created by Paralympian, Sophie Warner with the aim to increase mass-participation for people with all kinds of disabilities and injuries to positively impact their lives through sporting events.
The Superhero Tri consists of three triathlon challenges being a swim, cycle and push/run. The event has been created for all involved to have fun without the worry of cut-off times or equipment restrictions and can be carried out solo, in two’s or three’s.
Jess won a place in a celebrity team of the Superhero Tri after expressing an interest in the event and despite her tremendous achievements she is still humbled by the opportunity: “This opportunity means an awful lot to me as I know there are a lot of other people who would have missed out whose stories are inspirational I’m sure.”
The 39-year-old has brittle asthma, idiopathic intracranial hypertension and cauda equine syndrome and despite her setbacks, she believes she can achieve anything she wants to and let’s nothing stand in her way. She has a very positive attitude and lives by the motto “there’s no such word as ‘can’t’ just ‘how’” and insists that her superpower is her assistance dog, which allows her to live her life independently.
Jess will carry out a 1km push/run, while her celebrity captain Fiona Cranwick will do the 150m swim. Fiona is an injured servicewoman and believes she is an eternal optimist, she says that her superpower is “the ability to find the positive and smile in any situation.”
The third member of their team is Ben O’Brian from Worchester who will be cycling 3k. Ben has been training with the Special Olympics for 13 years and his team won a gold medal at the Los Angeles World Games in 2015.
Jess will be representing our league with the aim to help promote and expand the already growing league: “This is a massive platform not only for myself but to show that there really is no such word as can’t”
“And the fact it’s going to be televised promotes my fundraising of the disability league on a bigger scale which I’m so excited about”
“To line up with the likes of Jonny Peacock, David Weir and Adam Hills is a big tick on the bucket list!!”
Jade Harker, Sussex Disability Football League secretary and Sussex County FA Development Officer added: “Jess has had a fantastic first season with the disability league and has really helped the league develop in many different areas.
“We are really pleased and thankful to see Jess taking on this challenge in order to raise money and awareness for the league and I personally can’t wait to cheer Jess on during this challenge!”
You can read Jess’ story and donate on her Just Giving Page.