Disabled teen from Ponders End up for national fundraising award

Zachariah Haque-Ali, aged 13, is nominated for ‘fundraiser of the year’ in the Sense Awards after raising hundreds of pounds through a sponsored run

Zachariah Haque-Ali
Zachariah Haque-Ali running for Sense

A boy from Ponders End with sight and hearing loss has been shortlisted for a national award in recognition of his charity fundraising.

The Sense Awards, now in their 20th year, recognise the achievements of disabled people. Zachariah Haque-Ali, aged 13, is up for the ‘fundraiser of the year’ category after raising hundreds of pounds through a sponsored run.

For the teenager, who has hearing loss, sight loss and autism, taking on this challenge pushed him “far out of his comfort zone”, as he can struggle with new experiences. 

However, Zachariah’s mother Mokhi explained that he showed great enthusiasm and independence raising the funds for Sense, a charity that helps children and adults with complex disabilities including those who are deafblind. 

Zachariah took part in the sponsored 5km race alongside his parents and brother at Parallel Windsor. Parallel Windsor is an annual event of inclusive challenge events which is open to people of all health conditions and abilities. 

Zachariah’s family were introduced to Sense services through Great Ormond Street Hospital, and attend Sense’s children’s centre in Barnet. Through Sense, Zachariah has taken part in new experiences such as rock climbing and enjoyed accessible family days out. 

Sense has also made sure Zachariah’s brother Sulaiman has been included in activities. Mokhi credits Sulaiman with being a huge inspiration for Zachariah to take part in the event and get through it. 

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Mum Mokhi said: “I cannot explain how proud I am of Zachariah for raising £570 for Sense! Zachariah continues to teach me every day with his positivity and zest for life. The world is a better place because of him. 

“Sense has enabled me to encourage Zachariah to do things that are out of his comfort zone and open him up to experiences he wouldn’t necessarily choose. He’s very much a creature of habit and familiarity and so ‘new’ things unnerve him, but he always walks away happier, more positive, and more confident.” 

Zachariah added: “Initially I didn’t want to take on this challenge because I didn’t think I could do it. But my mum encouraged me to, because she believed I could do it, and I did! I feel very happy at being shortlisted.” 

Sense supports people living with complex disabilities, including those who are deafblind, to communicate and experience the world. Sense supports children, young people and adults in their home and in the community, in their education and transition to adulthood and through its holidays, arts, sports and wellbeing programmes

Richard Kramer, chief executive of Sense, said: “It’s delightful to have the opportunity to celebrate Zachariah for taking on this fundraising challenge at the Sense Awards. Zachariah showed initiative and bravery to do something new to raise funds for Sense. We are grateful for his fundraising, which will enable us to support more children and adults with complex disabilities.” 

Sense will be revealing this year’s winners at its awards ceremony on 23rd November, which will be hosted by disabled presenter and actress Samantha Renke.

Find out more about the Sense Awards on the charity’s website:

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