Twelve-year-old Poppy was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. She can’t sit, stand, roll or support herself and life is a daily challenge for her. But having a life-limiting condition doesn’t stop Poppy having fun. Poppy is a determined character with a great sense of humour. Her sense of adventure knows no bounds. She is a real thrill seeker and has a true competitive spirit.  Poppy’s dream was to compete in a triathlon.

Poppy’s dad, Rob, got in touch with the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) who specialise in adapting or making products for disabled children that can’t be found anywhere else. The whole team were inspired by Poppy’s determination and zest for life and became committed to helping her achieve her dream

The initial target was for Rob and Poppy to compete in the Cardiff triathlon in June 2016, with Rob pushing and pulling Poppy around the course. To do this they needed a specially designed chair on wheels and a boat. As Poppy didn’t want to just take part, but to win, the equipment had to be first class! They needed a chair on wheels with suspension – it must roll well and true, and must be comfortable for both users. The boat was a unique design, sleek, slender and with the least hydrodynamic resistance possible, yet it was also stable, strong – and unsinkable!

On the day everything went very smoothly and to plan. The equipment worked perfectly and looked amazing and Poppy and Rob crossed the finishing line in a very respectable 1 hour and 4 seconds.

Her experience in Cardiff gave Poppy the ‘triathlon bug’ and made her more determined than ever. In May 2017 she took on the Swansea Triathlon.

“Last year, we designed a chair and boat in Poppy’s favourite colour – yellow,” says Dr Ross Head from the CIC. “For this year’s challenge, we’ve modified both products to make them more efficient; to make them faster – and to change the look to match Poppy’s new favourite colour, orange! Poppy’s Triathlon Chair has also been upgraded to make it faster and more comfortable.” The CIC worked in collaboration with the guys at V- Trak – manufacturers of innovation seating and positioning equipment for this project.

The pair once again completed the event in style, but their plans don’t end there – Rob and Poppy will be competing in this year’s Super Hero Series in Dorney Lake, Windsor on August 19 2017.

To find out more about CIC and if they can help you with a project please visit

When they compete Rob and Poppy raise money for Cerebra. If you’d like to sponsor them please visit or text CERE12 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.