Young runner shows charitable spirit

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  • On track: Jaaziah Van-Lowe, who comes from a family of runners

    On track: Jaaziah Van-Lowe, who comes from a family of runners
    ((Photographs by Akil Simmons))

  • Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Jaaziah Van-Lowe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

At six, Jaaziah Lowe was the youngest to compete in the Bermuda Half Marathon Derby.

Tomorrow he’ll take part in the relay for the fourth time, again raising money for Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.

The idea was planted by his mother, Sophia Van-Lowe

After watching her great-aunt Isabelle Simons go through cancer treatment, Ms Van-Lowe vowed she’d donate her son’s hair to cancer patients. The plan to raise cash through running came later.

“We come from a family of runners so I said one of my children has got to run,” she told Lifestyle.

“When he started in P1 he did cross-country. His first year he came third so I said, ‘OK, I’ve got a runner’.

“We kept increasing the length that he was running and before we knew it we had a relay leg.”

Ms Van-Lowe started coaching Jaaziah, riding alongside him as he ran as encouragement.

She’ll do the same during tomorrow’s race when the nine-year-old will run the last relay leg, starting at Fort Hill in Devonshire.

They were going to skip it this year for a relaxing day at the beach.

Cancer survivor Karen Pearman’s story in The Royal Gazette inspired him to take part again.

“He came to me and said he would like to run in remembrance of all the people who have died of cancer,” his mother said.

He will run the three-and-a-half miles wearing a picture of his former teacher Elizabeth Scott, who passed away from the disease last year.

His friends Micah Carter and Lamai Drummond will run with him in her memory.

Jaaziah admitted it wasn’t entirely his decision to start running; his mother gave him a lot of encouragement.

“But I did like running,” he said.

“[Though] not when I was in preschool. I was slow.”

Since joining Bermuda Pacers Track Club in January, he’s seen improvement. The coaches have taught him how to use his arms to aid his running.

“I move my arms like a choo-choo train. It helps you to keep a steady pace,” he explained.

After his first race, Jaaziah discovered he suffers from exercise-induced asthma. Running, football, horseriding and tennis have put a strain on his young lungs.

“I knew he had asthma, but I didn’t know what his trigger was,” his mother said.

“Apparently it’s sports; but he’s so good at it.”

Help came when he joined Jump 2B Fit, a programme run by the Bermuda Heart Foundation.

“That’s where he actually learnt how to breathe properly,” said Ms Van-Lowe.

As a result, his second race was better; last year was his best yet.

He suspects he’ll be ready to run the full race when he’s “10 or 11”, and start donating his hair sometime after.

“My great-aunt raised us,” she said in explaining her charitable spirit. “She always believed in others.

“She’s always asking, how can I help? Everything is about helping others despite the fact that she’s 80 and she needs help. She just thinks how can I help this person?”

Jaaziah is exactly the same, Ms Van-Lowe added.

“She instilled it in me and they’re the same way. For career day he dressed as a doctor as he wants to become a cancer doctor.

“He is a good student and determined to get ahead in life.”

As for tomorrow, Jaaziah said he’s most looking forward to beating his personal best of 18:47.

He’s not at all worried about his asthma.

“I know how to breathe,” he said.

•Contact Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre to make a donation under Jaaziah Van-Lowe’s account

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Published May 23, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 23, 2017 at 12:56 am)

Young runner shows charitable spirit

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