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Friends of devoted dad Charisma Agbonlahor are rallying to his fundraising call – by joining him in the Great Birmingham Run to raise money for the charity which is supporting his disabled daughter.

Half a dozen friends will be joining him on Sunday 19 October for the 13.1-mile course around Birmingham. To date, 37 runners will be taking part in aid of Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children which is based in Cannock.

Newlife is currently helping two-year-old Jayla Agbonlahor by providing a specialist bed to keep her safe at night.

Shortly after her first birthday, little Jayla – from Erdington – suddenly stopped breathing. She was in hospital for the next five months.

Mum Louise Bostock said: “It was a terrible time. At first the doctors thought they were dealing with epilepsy but they have now put it down to a degenerative brain syndrome.”

Jayla – who cannot walk or talk and is fed through her stomach by a tube – has frequent seizures and needs to be properly positioned for her own safety. Using a standard cot that wasn’t adequate for her care needs resulted in frequent stays in hospital. She urgently needed a specialist cot bed costing thousands of pounds.

Louise said: “Staff at the Acorns hospice and my community nurse told me about Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. I was amazed and really pleased at how quickly the charity responded to my call for help. The equipment has made a huge difference to our daily lives.”

Dad Charisma, who will be starting the new soccer season playing for Alvechurch FC, wanted to say ‘thank you’ to Newlife Foundation for providing the bed so has signed up to the Great Birmingham Run challenge. His brother Gabby Agbonlahor is Aston Villa’s star striker. Charisma said: “I may ask my brother for a few training tips – but I’ll certainly be asking him for sponsorship.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Charisma can go to his JustGiving site:

Charisma added: “I would encourage people to join the ‘Newlife team’ for the Great Birmingham Run so that, together, we can help other disabled children like my lovely Jayla.”

If you have already signed up to the Great Birmingham Run and would like to raise money for Newlife – or Jayla’s story has inspired you to now give it a go – call the Newlife Community Fundraising Team on freephone 0800 988 4640 or email

Newlife is a ‘Gold Bond’ partner for the Great Birmingham Run, which is the biggest event of its kind in the West Midlands. For £20 you can secure a guaranteed place – all we ask is that you raise £130 for Newlife.

Pictured: Jayla Agbonlahor

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