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First Time Cyclist Pedalling for Pudsey

A young representative from Birmingham Carers Hub’s partner, OSCAR Birmingham, has been selected from hundreds of Children in Need charities to be part of the Children in Need Rickshaw Challenge for 2022. Sanna Ahmad, aged 20 is a Children’s Mentor at Oscar Birmingham, a voluntary Organisation for Sickle Cell Aneamia Relief & Thalassaemia Support (OSCAR).

All of Sanna’s life, she has lived with an inherited blood disorder, called Thalassemia Major. Every four weeks Sanna spends a day in hospital having a blood transfusion, without this she’d become anemic and extremely tired. Although not outwardly visible, Thalassemia impacts heavily on her day-to-day life.

OSCAR Birmingham – a Lifeline to Children and Parent Carers
As a child Sanna often found herself too tired to join in with activities or be able to fully participate in school life. At 12 years old Sanna was introduced to OSCAR Birmingham, where she could meet other children like her and enjoy fun activities funded by BBC Children in Need.

Oscar Birmingham has been a lifeline to Sanna but also to her mother Zabina, who has three children, two of whom also have a long-term generic blood condition. Zabina has been supported by OSCAR’s Carer project in partnership with Forward Carers/Birmingham Carers Hub, she said;

“The work that OSCAR does for the community is amazing. I always felt isolated and difficult to meet others. There was no support around when my children were diagnosed with Thalassaemia at six months old but now with the right help from OSCAR I don’t worry so much and meet other Carers in a similar situation. They have been there for me and my children.”

Pedalling for Pudsey
Sanna is still at OSCAR as a mentor to younger children, giving the same support back that she once received. She is really looking forward to the Rickshaw Challenge that will fundraise for Children in Need and raise awareness of Thalassaemia. At the age of 20, Sanna will ride a bike for the first time, not just a short spin but 30 miles across Birmingham where she lives. In preparation for her epic cycle, Sanna has been training on an exercise bike at home for the last four weeks.

Sanna will cycle from Birmingham to Warwickshire alongside TV’s Matt Baker, to share her story and will be shown live on Thursday 20th October 2022 at various times on BBC Breakfast between 7.00-8.30am. It is remarkable that Sanna will get on a bike for the first time as a young adult, cycle further than a marathon while coping with her condition, and all under the spotlight of the media!

Sanna’s cycling route starts at 8.30am at Birmingham City University, Seacole Building, Westbourne Road, heading through Ladywood Middleway A4540, then through Jewellery Quarter to OSCAR, moving onto Birmingham Children’s Hospital down Newhall Street and Ludgate Hill, onto Queensway. Proceeding through Eastside, Bordesley Green and heading out of the City through A34, Sparkbrook, Hall Green and heading to end destination of Kenilworth Castle.

You can also watch live tracking on the day of the Rickshaw ride via this link to see how Sanna is doing. You can watch how they get on in a special one-off documentary on BBC One on Tuesday 15th November, which will share the team’s remarkable stories but also celebrate the history of the Rickshaw Challenge, while at the same time raising life-changing money for the charity, as part of its 2022 Appeal. 
Here’s the link if you would like to make a donation.