"This challenge is to honour all the children treated for cancer that we have got to know over the last 3 years. It's for those children we knew who so very sadly died from cancer. It's the biggest thank you to all the staff involved who have cared for Stan and helped us as a family. And of course this is for my son Stan, who has shown so much courage and strength of character throughout that I couldn't be any more proud of him."
A huge congratulations to Julie, who recently completed an epic 100 mile challenge to raise funds towards the refurb of the cancer ward at The Children's Hospital Charity - inspired by the outstanding care her son Stan has received over the course of his treatment since 2017.
After three years of thinking about it, months of training for it and hours of preparation, Julie made her way to the Sheffield Children's Hospital to embark on her challenge on 23rd July this year. Joined on legs of the journey by so many of the people she inspired, she completed an incredible 103 miles - circumnavigating Chesterfield, Dronfield and Sheffield - with 11,745ft elevation gain. To date, Julie has raised over £24,000 for the cause.
As a result of Julie’s fundraising, the hospital is now able to fund an isolation room with en-suite and lobby for the ward and she will be recognised for her contribution alongside others on a plaque honouring those who helped make this possible.
Julie before the challenge:
“On 21st December 2017 our world was turned upside down when we were told the news at Sheffield Children's Hospital that our 12 year old son, Stan, had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. We were devastated and terrified.
In March 2021 following 3 years and 3 months of treatment and a week before his 16th birthday, his treatment will end. A few months into his treatment the hospital announced that they were taking on a £2.75million fundraising appeal to refurbish the cancer ward (Ward 6). The care at the hospital is absolutely outstanding but the ward is in need of improvement. Some of these children can spend many, many months living on the ward and the refurbishment will help to make inpatient stays, which we have had many, much more comfortable and a nicer environment for the incredible staff to work in. I said to Stan that when treatment was over, I would run 100 miles starting and finishing at the hospital, to help raise funds.
My 100 mile challenge will begin on Friday 23rd July 2021 and working to a schedule will see me back at the hospital around 24hrs later on Saturday 24th July, my 51st birthday. Because this is a continuous 100 miles the challenge will have me running through the night with only 5 stops throughout of 15-20 minutes for refuelling. I started training in November 2020. There's a huge commitment to the training and it will take up a large part of my life, right up to July. The thought of this challenge has helped to keep me going through some of my darkest days over the last 3 years, imagining Stan at the hospital when I finish. In July that will happen."
And of all the kit that Julie needed during the challenge, this is by far the most important one she was wearing - one of Stan's hospital wrist labels. One of the many that he wore in the early days when he were an inpatient on the ward and she was terrified that Stan may die.
"When I watched him suffer, unable to make it stop. When I used to look around the ward and see all the other children with leukaemia, brain tumours, sarcomas, neuroblastoma and all the other dreadful diseases these children were suffering. Watching the desperation on the faces of parents and families. Hearing about the children that we'd got to know, who had now died. However bad it gets during these 100 miles, which it will, nothing could possibly come close to the times when Stan was wearing his hospital wrist label. And this will be my constant reminder throughout."
"Thank you all so very much for the wonderful support and donations, I'm truly grateful to every single one of you. You can rest assured that you are making a huge difference to all those future children and families who will go on to be diagnosed with cancer. Thank you."You can still donate towards Julie's fundraiser here.