Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Kiera Byland

Category: Sports, arts and entertainment

I love inspiring others and if I can make a difference in one person’s life then that’s success for me.

Golden girl

Kiera didn’t have an easy time at school. It always took her far longer than her peers to achieve any goals; but she always persevered and achieve she has.

As a child Kiera struggled with balance and could never quite master the art of balance on a bike, so didn’t see that as a sporting option. At the age of 12, Kiera went to see her Dad train at the National Cycle Centre and expressed an interest in learning more.

Kiera Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

As the bikes are fixed wheel and have no brakes, Kiera thought she would give it a go; and she never looked back. By 2014 Kiera attended her first Special Olympics national cycling competition, where she won a gold medal.

At the end of that weekend Kiera was asked to be part of the SOGB cycle squad going to the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles – which Kiera returned from as a triple gold medallist – and her life changed forever.

Kiera Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

The Special Olympics

The young athlete spent 2015-16 raising awareness of the Special Olympics (SO) and how sport had changed her life.

Kiera was asked to become a Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) athlete leader for Special Olympics Europe and Eurasia (SOEE), recently becoming chairperson of the SOEE Athlete Input Council and vice chair of SOGB Athlete Input Council.

Kiera Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

Kiera recently spoke as an athlete leader at this year’s Special Olympics Europe Eurasia Leadership Conference. She had some pretty powerful things to say…

She currently has to compete nationally against male riders in Special Olympics events and in 2017, at the National Games, she amazed everyone by earning three silver medals.

Cycle coach

Kiera has also qualified as a level two cycle coach and a level two swimming teacher.

She volunteers her time to teach children how to ride balance bikes, coaches once a month at the British Cycling Disability hub and teaches every week at a SO swimming club for children and young people with a learning disability.

Health Advocate

Kiera later became a SO health advocate, helping to introduce a healthy initiative called FIT 5 back into Great Britain. She has spent the last year raising awareness and running workshops to promote healthy lifestyles for SO athletes and in a local primary school.

Kiera Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018
Kiera gives all of her time to inspire and promote sport and healthy lifestyles.

Medal winning campaigner

Kiera continues to raise awareness and spoke at the World Health Congress in 2017 about her experiences as a Special Olympics athlete and leader, whilst currently in her SOEE athlete leader chairperson role representing her colleagues at the Global Athlete Congress in the Dominican Republic.

In 2017 Kiera was invited as a guest to the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments’ (INAS) cycle championships in Assen. She came home as ladies World Time Trial & Road Race champion sporting the two gold medals and coveted rainbow jerseys.

Kiera Sports, arts and entertainment LDA Leaders' List 2018

In July 2018 Kiera went back to the INAS European and World Cycle championships to defend her titles in Paris and did GB proud by coming home as both European & World ladies Time Trial & Road Race champion.

Meanwhile…

Amongst all of this, Kiera is a full time college student. She studies in Bolton, completing a BTEC level three in, you guessed it, sport.

Kiera won the 2017 Bolton Volunteer of the Year award and in 2018 also won the Bolton Inspiring Women Award for sports achievements.

Kiera gives all of her time to inspire and promote sport and healthy lifestyles. She is a passionate and dedicated athlete and leader. Whilst she has been nominated for sports she also changes lives in the community.

The future belongs to the brave

As an athlete Kiera lives by the SO motto: “Let me win; but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”. Kiera does just that.

She trains five times a week, competes in the mainstream, gives talks at health summits and uses her experience to go into schools as a SO athlete leader for SOGB and SOEE.

In this role, she inspires other children and young people to be proud of who they are and explains how sport can help you, in yourself, and be a great way of making friends. Sport can give so much confidence.

Kiera’s quote as an Athlete Leader is: “I love inspiring others and if I can make a difference in one person’s life then that’s success for me.”

Kiera’s mum, Jacqui Byland, said: “Kiera has done so much in four years. I feel she is a positive role model as an athlete, a coach and as a leader and she genuinely is an inspiration for all.”

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