Fitness fanatic to tackle huge fundraising challenge in support of girl with leukaemia
- Credit: Suzanne Wilding/Sofia Flatt
A fitness enthusiast from Fairfield is tackling a mammoth ex-navy seal charity challenge in support of an eight-year-old girl undergoing treatment for leukaemia.
At 4pm on Friday, May 14, Suzanne Wilding begins the 4x4 Challenge - running four miles, every four hours, for a full 48 hours – to raise funds for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).
Suzanne explained how, during lockdown, she’d been looking to push herself with running challenges while also supporting various good causes.
After hearing the news that Amelie Flatt - who attends the same school as Suzanne's son - had relapsed after first being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in 2015, Suzanne was determined to help.
Suzanne, who also ran three marathons for Cancer Research UK in February, said: “Over lockdown, I’ve really just focused on my running, getting outside and enjoying the weather.
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“I was running so much, and saw a lot of stuff online for fundraising, running so many miles a month that sort of thing. I thought I’m doing so much running, why don’t I do something good and raise some funds while I’m doing it?
“Once I looked into the 4x4, and how far out of my comfort zone it is, I wondered whether I could do it.
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“Amelie is a lovely girl from a lovely family, super confident and intelligent. It was a massive shock hearing the news, everyone was so upset.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare having to go through something like that. I knew I wanted to do something to try and make a difference and I thought this would be a great way to show my support and to help out all the other families who are suffering.”
Under no illusions as to how tough the challenge will be, Suzanne said she has been varying her training - combining a series of longer runs for conditioning purposes with shorter, faster runs - to ensure she is fully prepared for the physical demands it will bring.
She explained how she expects the lack of sleep and ensuring she can get enough rest and recovery between legs to be particularly tough.
She said: “At the moment, it takes me about 30 minutes to do four miles, so I know to begin with I’ll have a good three and a half hours to recover.
“However, as the longer it goes on and the longer it takes me to get round four miles, the less time I’ll have before I go out again.
“So, it’s trying to get that balance of running at a decent pace to ensure enough time to recover for the next one with not overdoing it so that you can’t carry on.
“I’m really looking forward to it, but also a little worried about failing, but I’ll make sure I do it, even if I have to walk or crawl it."
Amelie’s mum, Sofia, hopes to join in on one of the legs, and said that Suzanne’s support – along with the other parents and staff at Fairfield Park Lower School – has been a big boost to her daughter, whose treatment is due to finish in April 2023.
She said: “Amelie knows that Suzanne is doing the run for her. It’s a massive support, it’s huge to her. I’m going to potentially do one of the legs with Suzanne, providing we are home and things are OK at that time.
“We wanted to support Suzanne with what she is doing as it’s a gruelling challenge. The parents at the school have been amazing in fundraising but for Amelie, too. They brought her a Nintendo Switch as well.
“We had one but were swapping between our two children while she was in hospital, Aiden - Amelie’s brother - would have it for a few days and then Amelie.
“But the parents bought her her own so they could play together while he’s at home and she’s in hospital. The school and teachers are really lovely and supportive too.”
Suzanne added: “It’s a really close-knit community and the support’s been amazing. I’ve had so many donations including from the teachers and other parents at the school and my neighbours."
With almost £1,500 raised within three weeks of setting up her JustGiving page for the challenge, Suzanne thanked all those who have donated and pledged their support, while adding one final message.
She said: “Please, help me raise as much as possible for this amazing cause, a charity that helps support all the children and their families who are enduring something we can only imagine.”
To donate, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/suzanne-wilding.