Hitchin toddler’s brain tumour fight inspires £10,000 fundraising

PUBLISHED: 09:39 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 11 September 2018

Lily-May Betts with her grandmother Hayley, great-aunt Lisa Clayton and family friend Helen Channa at the finishing line of their 50km Thames Path Challenge walk. Picture: Hayley Betts

Lily-May Betts with her grandmother Hayley, great-aunt Lisa Clayton and family friend Helen Channa at the finishing line of their 50km Thames Path Challenge walk. Picture: Hayley Betts

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A brave Hitchin girl’s battle with a brain tumour has inspired her grandmother, great-aunt and family friend to raise more than £10,000 with a 50km walk.

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

One-year-old Lily-May Betts is having chemotherapy at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, and has a feeding tube through her nose to her stomach as the tumour stops her wanting to eat.

On Saturday her gran Hayley Betts, from St Ippolyts, smashed the Thames Path Challenge from Putney to Henley-on-Thames – flanked by Lily-May’s great-aunt Lisa Clayton and their close friend Helen Channa.

Hayley told the Comet the walk was “probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done”.

“It took us 13 hours and 20 minutes, but we made it – and Lily-May was there with our families at the end to cheer us through the finish line,” she said.

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

“Our team name was Hurts Like Hell – Hayley, Lisa, Helen – and at times it certainly did.

“It was a very long day, but we had some laughs and music along the way to distract us from the pain. And, of course, the thought of Lily-May and the huge amount of money we’d raising – plus knowing she and our families were waiting at the end – spurred us on.

“For the last few kilometres, we counted down with our families by text – and in fact a few of them surprised us just after the 49km mark and did the last piece with us.”

Lily-May’s mum Lianna said: “I am so proud of them all for completing the walk, and so thankful to everyone who donated money to the cause.”

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

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

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Since the Comet’s initial coverage of Lily-May’s fight, Lianna and husband Stephen have been interviewed for television news.

Hayley, Lisa and Helen set an initial fundraising target of £8,500. They have now raised more than £10,000 for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.

The fundraising is going towards a wider team pool, the first £10,000 of which is to go towards the new Sight & Sound building at the hospital.

Lily-May often has tests and check-ups in this department. Given the location of her tumour, this testing is vital to her care.

Donations are still welcome at justgiving.com/fundraising/HayleyLisaHelenForLily.

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