MATILDA MOBBS'S dad, Adam, is running for her in The Sun-Herald City2Surf this Sunday.
Three-year-old Matilda was born with spina bifida, a condition in which some bones and nerves in the spinal cord fail to connect properly.
Her father is running the 14 kilometres to raise money for Northcott Disability Services, because they support children with spina bifida and with other disabilities.
"This my fourth City2Surf," Mr Mobbs said. "Last year we raised money for [The Children's Hospital at Westmead], where Matilda sometimes goes for treatment.
"I've always liked running, but this has more meaning because I've got a cause to run."
Mr Mobbs has had the names of his wife, Cassandra, and those of both his children, Matilda and Xavier, tattooed on his left arm.
"If I'm struggling during the race, I'll take a look at them to remind me why I'm running and motivate myself to push on," he said.
Matilda's lower spine was malformed by spina bifida, so she had to have spinal surgery when she was only a few months old.
She has to wear leg braces to straighten her feet, because nerve damage has disrupted neural signals between her brain and her right foot.
However, she is able to move without effort and is much healthier than other children with the condition and will grow up perfectly normally.
"Matilda was crawling before she was one and walking at 14 months," Mr Mobbs said.
"She also does swimming lessons."
"She’s beautiful, we wouldn’t change her for the world," Mrs Mobbs said.
Mr Mobbs, who has already raised about $1200 through his sponsors, has been training for the City2Surf about three times each week.
"It's nice to get out and run, but it's good to do it for a worthwhile cause."
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