What an honour and such a privilege

Kieran Mackenzie carried the Torch in Bridgend

Kieran Mackenzie carried the Torch in Bridgend

Kieran Mackenzie, Brackla – carried the Torch in Bridgend

It was a normal Wednesday morning in my home town of Brackla, Bridgend. I’d had a lie in – no early morning training – and was busy getting ready for college when my mum shouts up the stairs, ‘phone’. What she didn’t tell me was it was Capital Radio ringing to surprise me with some good news. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, I was in shock, almost speechless (not good for radio!). What an honour and such a privilege I’d been selected to be a Torch Bearer.

I am an 18 year old competitive swimmer, been swimming since I was 8. My Mum nominated me for torch bearer whilst I was competing at the Gemau Cymru in Cardiff because she felt I deserved to be a ‘future flame’. During a five year period I had been diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD and had to overcome all the issues associated with these conditions. My sister was told her son Bradley was severely disabled with Cerebral Palsy, which was very upsetting, but just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I lost my Granddad and seven months later my Nan died; two people I loved very much and was very close to.

I got through it by pushing myself in training until I dislocated my shoulder; this had a terrible impact on me mentally and physically and took nearly 10 months to get back up to speed. No sooner was I back in the water I broke my foot and spent 6 weeks in plaster and months trying to get my fitness back.

Seeing my nephew’s daily struggles I decided to do the Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the ‘Stand Up For Bradley’ appeal. It was a tough challenge but nothing compared to the life-time challenges Bradley faced. With the help from lecturers and my mates at Pencoed College I managed to raise over £1,300. More good news, I passed the Bronze Medallion for Life Saving and put my name forward to do a swimming coaching course so I can help other children.

At the end of last year I lost my best mate in a car accident. This really hit me hard and then I was told my Gran had Cancer, another double blow. I didn’t think I could cope with anymore bad news, but then I got that phone call: “Congratulations, you’ve been selected to be an Olympic Torch Bearer 2012″.