Hitchin toddler’s brain tumour battle inspires gran’s 50km charity walk

Hitchin's Lily-May Betts in hospital. Picture: Lianna Betts

Hitchin's Lily-May Betts in hospital. Picture: Lianna Betts - Credit: Archant

A brave Hitchin girl’s battle with a brain tumour has inspired her grandmother, great-aunt and family friend to take on a 50km walk to support the hospital looking after her.

Stephen and Lianna Betts with little Lily-May. Picture: John Adams

Stephen and Lianna Betts with little Lily-May. Picture: John Adams - Credit: Archant

One-year-old Lily-May Betts was diagnosed with an optic pathway glioma and subsequent diencephalic syndrome and visual impairment last November.

She is having chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and has to have a feeding tube through her nose to her stomach as the tumour stops her wanting to eat.

Next Saturday her grandmother Hayley Betts, from St Ippolyts, is to take on the Thames Path Challenge from Putney to Henley-on-Thames. Joining Hayley will be great-aunt Lisa Clayton and their close friend Helen Channa.

Lisa Clayton, Hayley Betts and Helen Channa during one of their training walks. Picture: Hayley Bett

Lisa Clayton, Hayley Betts and Helen Channa during one of their training walks. Picture: Hayley Betts - Credit: Archant

The trio have been in gruelling training for months, and have so far raised more than £8,000 towards a £8,500 goal for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.


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Hayley told the Comet: “As a grandmother it’s hard to watch your son and daughter-in-law cope with such devastating news and deal with it on a day-to-day basis, and I help them as much as I can.

“But I wanted to do more, and wanted to help raise funds for GOSH as the money the charity raises helps the children, their families and the hospital itself so much. Lily herself has already benefited from their funds, as she has had experimental treatment to help her eyes.”

Lily-May Betts at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Picture: Hayley Betts

Lily-May Betts at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Picture: Hayley Betts - Credit: Archant

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The trio’s fundraising is going towards a wider team target of £10,000, which has already been smashed. The first £10,000 is to go towards the new Sight & Sound building at the hospital.

“Lily-May often uses the current department for tests and check-ups and, given the location of her tumour, this testing is absolutely critical to her treatment,” said Hayley.

“The new dedicated Sight & Sound building with state-of-the-art equipment will be incredibly useful for her and other children with audio-visual issues.

“But it’s not just about the money, which is of course extremely important. It is also about raising awareness of this terrible disease, so that parents and doctors are more aware and hopefully other babies can be diagnosed more quickly than Lily-May was.”

If you’d like to support Hayley, Lisa and Helen with their fundraising for GOSH, see justgiving.com/fundraising/HayleyLisaHelenForLily.

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