Coming together for Tiggy – after four-year-old’s acute lymphoblastic leukaemia diagnosis, Stevenage mums come together for One True Grit assault course challenge

Fundraising friends Carly McDowell, Polly O'Brien, Erica Lane, Samantha Smallwood, Lucy Jackson and

Fundraising friends Carly McDowell, Polly O'Brien, Erica Lane, Samantha Smallwood, Lucy Jackson and Claire Baranowski. - Credit: Archant

A Stevenage mum whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer last summer has recruited five pals to take on a gruelling military-style assault course for charity.

Tiggy Smallwood, 4, Team Tiggy's namesake.

Tiggy Smallwood, 4, Team Tiggy's namesake. - Credit: Archant

Tiggy Smallwood, who is now four, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July.

She is now in the maintenance stage of her cancer treatment after a challenging and distressing time at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

To try to give something back to charities that have helped her along the way, mum Samantha has formed Team Tiggy along with five lifelong friends – Lucy Jackson, Polly O’Brien, Claire Baranowski, Erica Lane and Carly McDowell – and will take part in the One True Grit event at Benington on Saturday, April 2.

Samantha said: “I am incredibly lucky to have the friends I have.

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“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to hear the news that your child has been diagnosed with cancer, but I have been overwhelmed by the support they have given us.

“The charities we are supporting have made such a big difference to Tiggy’s experience on her treatment days, and when I decided that I wanted to raise funds to help them continue the work they do my friends jumped at the chance to get involved.”

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Tiggy now visits Addenbrooke’s for chemotherapy once a month and has other drugs daily at home. She is well most of the time and goes to nursery a few mornings a week.

Her hair has just started to grow back, which has made her extremely happy.

Lucy said: “As her close friends, we felt completely helpless and useless when Tiggy was first diagnosed, as there wasn’t much we could do apart from be there for Sam.

“But once Sam had come to terms with the news and Tiggy had started treatment, she told us she wanted to raise money for these lesser known charities.

“Sam suggested One True Grit and we all agreed straight away.”

One True Grit is a 10km obstacle course across natural terrain, created by two army veterans who wanted everyone to be able to enjoy the kind of training they went through.

Lucy added: “We’ll be running, climbing, jumping, wading, crawling and swimming – and getting just a little bit muddy!

“We are all of different fitness levels, but Polly, having completed a similar event before, became our ‘coach’ and we have been training for more than four months, building up our running distances and speed, strength and stamina, so we can tackle the 10km course.

“Our families are intending to watch us complete the course, and it promises to be quite emotional for everyone.

“We will be running in specially printed T-shirts in Tiggy’s favourite colour, yellow.”

Team Tiggy is aiming to raise £3,000, which will be split between Bravery Boxes – which provides toys and books in paediatric oncology centres to help little ones through traumatic experiences – Theodora Giggle Doctors, who visit sick children and bring them laughs and smiles, and the Addenbrooke’s Paediatric Day Unit and Play Team.

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