A 14-year-old from Llanbradach is attempting to take 421,000 steps – the length of Wales – to raise money for charity.
Erin Hancock will complete the challenge at home to raise money for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity, which saved the lives of her brother and sister.
Erin’s brother Joe, 7, was diagnosed with a tumour in his eye in December 2016. After a year of chemotherapy, the tumour stabilised, but started to grow again a year later.
After another year of chemotherapy, which has helped shrink the tumour again, Joe is now almost completely blind.
Erin’s three-year-old sister Molly, who was born shortly after Joe’s initial diagnosis, was admitted to the paediatric critical care unit at the hospital after suffering respiratory failure.
Molly also developed feeding issues and was fed through a tube for 18 months. She has since been diagnosed with a genetic condition which is controlled by medication.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Erin and her family are self-isolating at home to protect Joe and Molly.
Erin said: “We’ve spent a lot of time at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, but it’s a bright, happy place where all of us have always felt comfortable going.
“If it wasn’t for this amazing hospital my family and other families like mine wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s more important now than ever in these difficult circumstances to show support for charities like these.
“The step challenge is a really good way of using up my time on lockdown and I enjoy working towards my target by walking around the garden or up and down the stairs.
“I’m aiming for 6,000 steps a day for 75 days and so far it’s going well.”
Erin added: “The work that the Noah’s Ark Charity does in and around the hospital is so important. I can’t imagine what it would be like if my brother or sister were in hospital now and I wasn’t able to see them because of the lockdown.
“They support the children through the toughest of times and they’ll be needed now more than ever.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the charity has seen a 50% drop in fundraising income.
Noah’s Ark Charity director, Suzanne Mainwaring, says: “With so many of our traditional ways of fundraising now shut off to us and with the public very understandably concerned about issues closer to home, we have been really concerned about our ability to get through this current crisis.
“Seeing hospital patients and their families showing their support for the Noah’s Ark Step Challenge like this is genuinely humbling.”
For more information about the step challenge, visit www.noahsarkcharity.org/step-challenge
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