A 10-year-old schoolgirl is well on her way to completing a series of tough physical challenges for charity after being inspired by her dad’s cancer battle.
Lily Heywood, a pupil at St Anne’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Buxton, has a target of completing 60 miles hiking, running and cycling. She has already hiked 38 miles, ran 26 miles, cycled five miles and swam 60 lengths.
She is also planning to hike up Mount Snowdon on July 29th and run either a 5 or a 10k race in September or October.
The inspirational youngster is raising money for Christie’s Hospital in Manchester, where her dad was treated for skin cancer.
The 60 Christie’s fundraising challenge is aimed at schools and is centred on the figure 60 because that is the average distance a patient travels for cancer treatment in the UK.
Lily’s dad Matt was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2021 but following surgery and treatment he is now in remission and has been taking on his own fundraising challenges.
These include scaling the three Welsh peaks and the Yorkshire peaks in 36 hours, taking on the Spanish peaks, the Tower Run in Manchester, the Manchester and the Buxton half-marathons back to back. Matt has also applied to run the London Marathon.
Matt said: “We went to the Manchester half marathon and there was a real buzz and lot of energy around that. Lily asked what she might be able to do and when I asked her what she wanted to do she said she’d like to do running, hiking, cycling and that she wanted to do six challenges like me.
“She took part in a fundraising walk at school and was asking me how many laps of the playground I thought she would be able to do. I said 60 laps would mean she will be ahead in her challenge.
“She ended up completing 174 laps and she ran 60 of those, 114 were hiking, this equated to over six miles running and over 12 miles hiking. She went to bed with a step count of nearly 47,000 steps. I don’t know many adults who would do that.
“I am massively proud of her. One of the biggest benefits is how this has helped Lily, she has not been without her own issues around anxiety but this has really helped.”
Lily said: “When my dad had cancer he started fundraising for charities and I thought I would like to do that. I just thought that instead of sitting down and watching TV I might as well help people like my dad. I would like to raise £1,000, I think I can do that.”
Matt and Lily urge people to go and see their GP if they are unsure of any changing moles or lesions. If detected early, over 85% of melanomas are preventable.
Matt said: “Melanoma and skin cancers affect us all regardless of our skin type, be safe in the sun.”
You can sponsor Lily and Matt here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-heywood4