A ten-year-old has thanked the cancer hospital that saved her dad’s life by running 60 miles, cycling 60 miles, hiking 60 miles, swimming 60 pool lengths – and climbing a mountain.
Inspirational Lily Heywood said she wants to make a “difference to other people’s lives” after her father Matt was diagnosed with skin cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes.
Following major surgery and 12 months of treatment at The Christie in Manchester, Matt is now in remission. This summer he started six fundraisers for the hospital by climbing Spain’s Sierra Nevada Three Peaks.
Lily also launched her own six challenges and has just finished her last one – a night 5k run. She completed that around MediaCity in Salford, the Imperial War Museum North and the Lowry Theatre.
And it came after she ran 60 miles by sprinting 540 laps of her school playground, hiked 60 miles, swam 60 lengths in a pool, cycled 60 miles and climbed more than 3,000ft up Snowdon in Wales. Together, the pair have raised more than £7,000 for the NHS specialist cancer centre to give other patients the best chance of beating the disease.
Lily said: “I’m helping my dad raise money for The Christie because they help cure thousands of people.
“It means a lot to me because they helped my dad get better.
“I hope my fundraising will help people get their treatment. I want to be a person who makes a difference to other people’s lives.” Matt told the Daily Express – his late nan Maude Bowran’s favourite newspaper – he couldn’t be prouder of his daughter’s commitment and tenacity.
The kitchen designer, from Buxton, Derbys, said: “When I ran my first fundraising half marathon after the treatment, Lily came along and was so absorbed with the whole event.
“She asked me on the way home, ‘Daddy what can I do to help?’ It struck a chord. In the early stages of my diagnosis, we were careful what we told Lily and her younger sister Maya.
“Now her grit and determination has brought me to tears.”
Lily, who has earned a special The Christie Challenge award, chose the number 60 for most of her challenges as it is the average distance in miles a UK cancer patient travels to a clinic for their treatment.
Josh Hughff, from The Christie Charity, said: “Lily is an absolute star. We couldn’t be more thankful for the support from her and Matt.”
● To donate: justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-heywood4