Khara Johnson-Smith is used to proving people wrong and turning difficulty into opportunity.
The 28-year-old Sandgate woman was born with congenital hyperplasia and faces some mobility challenges but her ‘can-do’ mindset and approach to life is an inspiration to others.
“People call it a physical disability but in my mind I’m just a little bit more different than most. I have only two fingers and two toes on my left side, and my left leg is 10 centimetres shorter than my right which results in me walking with a limp, but I don’t let it stop me,” Khara says.
When Khara heard about the Healthy Harold Hundred to stamp out bullying, she set herself a big goal.
Not content to merely walk 100 kilometres over the 20-day challenge, Khara has chosen to run each day – clocking up the miles with runs from her home to the Shorncliffe Pier and early-morning gym sessions.
“I was told I would never run or play sport; in fact, doctors once thought amputating my leg would be the best option. Luckily for me, Dad believed I could, and so in life I’ve always believed I could do anything too… this running challenge is another piece of my journey and goal to inspire others.”
“Physically, running is a huge challenge for me because it’s not something I’m anatomically built for,” Khara says.
“I chose to run because it is the hardest thing for me to do, and because I wanted to recognise the fact that getting up and going to school or to work and dealing with bullying on a daily basis, is a challenge for those who are facing that, so that was my motivation to push myself to do the hardest thing I could in the challenge.”
Khara is all too familiar with the pain caused by heartless taunts and ignorance.
“I struggled with bullying throughout my whole childhood education. I don’t think I will ever forget some of the cruel things that were said to me when I was at school, and also, being the last person included in things and just sort of being ostracised.
“But I’ve also experienced bullying behaviour as an adult on the netball court and at the gym. Sometimes people will do whatever they can to bully others and my situation is probably just a bit easier to target.
“Everyone knows someone who has an experience with bullying. The younger sister of my personal trainer at the gym is actually facing a lot of online bullying at the moment, and so my PT is really supportive of my efforts too.”
With her job as a sonographer for I-MED Radiology Network, Khara is based at Caboolture Hospital, and has a contingent of work mates and friends rallying behind her.
“People are running with me, people are donating, there have been lots of words of encouragement … it’s really good.”
When asked to sum up her feelings about the Healthy Harold Hundred, Khara had this to say:
“If I can inspire just one person to push themselves a little bit harder and do things that they didn’t think they could do, or that people say they cannot do, then that for me, is really fulfilling, plus being able to raise awareness and funds for bullying, It’s a win win for me.”
To sponsor Khara’s challenge head to her fundraising page here.