School runners to remember former student Sunil

A team of runners from Streetly Academy will be taking on the Royal Sutton Fun Run in memory of a former student who ‘loved life’ but tragically passed away last year.

Sunil Parkash
Sunil Parkash

Staff and pupils at the academy are working with the family of Sunil Parkash to raise funds for Ataxia UK.

Sunil died last August having been diagnosed with ataxia, a progressive neurological condition, in August. Ataxia disrupts the messages sent from the brain to muscles that are used to move, speak, listen and see.

Sunil’s mother, Sindy, said: “Sunil was a normal child and everything was fine until the age of seven, when he started to trip over a lot. He was diagnosed with ataxia, which is a genetic condition, at the age of 10.

Jonny Boyes, assistant head of Year 11/Team Streetly organiser, Jim Spence, Year 7, Alfie Bunch, Year 10, Sunil’s brother Ravi Parkash, mother Sindy, father Anil Parkash and Paula Wiley, SendCo

“He had an amazing five years at Streetly [Academy] – it was a real hidden gem. We couldn’t believe it was on our doorstep.

“Whenever we’d come into the school, we were so overwhelmed by how many kids would go past him in reception and they would all be giving him high-fives.

"He left in Year 11 and was wheelchair-bound at that point. He went to Sandwell College and deteriorated further.

“It was a rapid decline and, by 18, his speech had pretty much gone. He was hospitalised in April last year and, by August, he’d left this world. The condition is very cruel because it’s degenerative and there’s no cure.

She added:“Sunil had such a presence. He loved school and he was happy. Academically, the condition stripped him of a lot but he was still such a smart lad.

“He had a prom in Year 11 and was adamant he was going and wanted to wear his Kingsman jacket.

“He loved life. He did not stop smiling and never had any complaints.”

Sindy said the family was determined to try to raise the profile of the condition, adding: “We hope as much money as possible can be injected into research on this condition. Only then can we make strides on research.”

More than £1,700 has already been raised ahead of the fun run this weekend.

Jonny Boyes, assistant head of Year 11, who has got the team together, said: “I remember we did a Drayton Manor reward trip where the students were invited on the trip because they had done really well in terms of behaviour points. He was so animated about being on the trip. His face was beaming.

“Sunil lit up a room and he had a cheeky sense of humour. He was just a lovely lad. We always take part in the fun run for a charity close to our heart. So we will have this team of 40 raising awareness and money for ataxia.”

Headteacher Billy Downie said: “I am delighted we are supporting such a wonderful charity, particularly for Sunil.

"He was a special young man who was sadly taken far too early. If we could do anything as his legacy, it was to support Ataxia UK. “

People can sponsor Streetly Academy at justgiving.com/fundraising/streetly-academyfunrun2022

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