Melbourn man celebrates 50th by running Boston Marathon for charities that help children with special needs like his daughter

PUBLISHED: 17:20 14 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:46 14 April 2016

Andy Kulina and daughter Olivia.

Andy Kulina and daughter Olivia.

Archant

Instead of holding a party for his milestone 50th birthday this year, Melbourn's Andy Kulina decided to run a marathon in the hope of raising money for a charities such as the one that helped his daughter.

Andy, who hails from the USA, will be attempting to raise $50,000 – about £31,000 – for organisations which help children with special needs and their families.

So he set up a website to support organisations like Snowdrop, Camp Shriver, The Woolgrove School and the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, all of which help to support hundreds of children like Andy and wife Jenny’s daughter Olivia, 5, who is one of only about 600 people in the world diagnosed with a rare chromosome deletion called Phelan-McDermid.

The main event of his year of fundraising is fast approaching as Andy will be putting on his trainers to run the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Andy, who describes himself as someone who can run ‘very slow for a very long time’, was able to nab one of the limited supply of charity places available for the prestigious marathon, where a qualifying time in another marathon must be achieved before entry for all but a few hundred runners.

The organisers were so touched by Olivia’s story, they offered Andy a valued place for the event.

Andy and Jenny were originally told Olivia might never walk or talk, but with the help and support of organisations like the ones the Kulina family are raising money for, Olivia walked on her third birthday, finished the last few meters of a 5K race with her dad last year and has now begun to say a few words.

Andy said: “The idea of raising $50,000 is my way to celebrate reaching half-time by doing something more useful than going down the pub.”

Olivia, her sister Sophia, mum and dad are urging people to read about the organisations they are supporting and to leave a message of support or a donation at his website, www.50atFifty.com.

In return, you can receive a link to follow Andy live as he makes his way toward Boston Common and as a bonus, anyone donating $50 – £35 – or more will be entered in a raffle to win a pair of tickets to see Coldplay at Wembley on June 18.

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