An inspirational fundraiser from Hertfordshire, who was told just five years ago he would never walk again, has been nominated by Sport Relief and selected to take part in the prestigious Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay for his extraordinary fundraising efforts - which includes completing an 82-mile quadrathlon.
Rae Saleem, 47, from Potters Bar, was left paralysed from the neck down after a serious cycling accident in 2017 and was told he would never walk again. Defying all odds, and after a long road to recovery and gruelling rehabilitation programme, Rae not only learnt how to walk again but also started exercising regularly to build back his physical strength and his mental resilience.
Since getting active, father-of-three Rae, has continued to push himself and astound his family and friends. Rae has taken on a series of physical endurance challenges to raise money for charity, including an 82-mile quadrathlon in the local gym where most of the rehabilitation took place to raise funds for Comic Relief.
Now his unique and inspiring story has led to Rae becoming a Batonbearer selected to carry The Queen’s Baton as it travels through England this summer. Rae will be carrying the Baton through Hemel Hempstead on Friday 8 July.
Rae said: “Not so long ago, I was in a bed not able to move, reliant on three carers after being told I would never walk again. Now, after my recovery and nearly five years on, I am able to represent Sport Relief by carrying the Baton in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay. It is a real honour and I hope I can be a beacon of hope to people.”
Rae added: “Sport has been a huge driving factor for me while coming back from my accident, and its contributed so much to my life. I want to inspire people, because if I can learn to walk again and then run a complete marathon, you can do anything.”
Having been on a 294-day journey, visiting all nations and territories of the Commonwealth, the Baton will be touring the host nation of England, finishing in the host city of Birmingham, where it will take a central role in the Opening Ceremony on 28 July 2022.
Samir Patel, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, says: “It’s a huge honour for Rae to be a part of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay and we are so proud of him. This Relay not only marks the start of an incredible summer of sport, it is also an example of how sport has the power to unite and connect people across the UK and the globe.
“It is fantastic that Sport Relief is a charity partner of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Together, with the help of the amazing British public, we’re hoping to raise life-changing funds to tackle inequality, improve mental health and help young people to survive and thrive.”
Sport Relief is an official charity partner of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, alongside United By 2022 and the Commonwealth Sport Foundation, and hopes to raise money this summer to help change lives for the better. To find out how you can get involved, visit: comicrelief.com/sportrelief
- Selection of images and a video interview with Rae are available on request
- Rae’s story, as told in his own words
- Sport Relief, Comic Relief and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games logos and graphics available on request
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT
Senior Media Officer Antonia Paget
A.Paget@comicrelief.com / 07981 923879
Out of hours 07984 510 473
Out of hours enquiries: 07984 510 473
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Sport Relief
Sport Relief is a year-round fundraising campaign run by the charity, Comic Relief.
Sport Relief harnesses the power of sport and entertainment to bring people together across the UK, to get active, have fun and raise life-changing funds. Since launching in 2002, Sport Relief has raised £419 million so far, thanks to the generous British public, and supported millions of lives in the UK and around the world.
This year, Sport Relief is teaming up with United By 2022 and the Commonwealth Sport Foundation to celebrate an incredible summer of sport as the official charity partners of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Together we hope to inspire the nation through a shared love of sport, to use this momentous sporting event as an opportunity to raise money to change lives for the better.
Sport Relief aims to raise money to take on important issues, including tackling inequality, improving mental health and helping young people to survive and thrive in Birmingham, across the UK, around the Commonwealth and beyond.
Sport Relief is an initiative of Comic Relief, operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity in England & Wales (326568) and Scotland (SC039730). For more information about Sport Relief, please visit https://www.comicrelief.com/sportrelief
Instagram: @ComicRelief |Twitter: @ComicRelief | Facebook: @ComicRelief | Tik Tok: @ComicRelief
About Comic Relief
Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world. Through humour and stories of hope, we have shown that people can make a massive difference.
Comic Relief believes that those who are closest to the issues have the best solutions, and so works with organisations and people with direct experience of these challenges. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who support the most vulnerable people and communities in society.
This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with mental health problems.
For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.com
Comic Relief, which is the operating name of Charity Projects, is a registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland).