Eight year old’s amazing Peak District challenge for children’s charity

Lilah Johnson is taking on the 21-mile Edale Skyline challenge in the Peak District to raise funds to support Magnolia and Treetop Houses

An eight-year-old girl from Rotherham is taking on the 21-mile Edale Skyline challenge in the Peak District to raise funds to support The Sick Children’s Trust.

Lilah Johnson will be covering the distance with her parents, Emma and Richard, on 7 April 2023 to raise money for the charity that supported her aunt and uncle, Lindsey and Peter, while their daughter, Alice, underwent treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

During their 12-week scan Alice was diagnosed with gastroschisis, a birth defect where her bowel was on the outside of her body, which only occurs in 300 births a year in the UK. Alice also suffered a perforated bowel while she was in the womb and needed surgery when she was born to have 20cm of her bowel removed.

Throughout her treatment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Alice’s parents were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust and its ‘Homes from Home’ Magnolia and Treetop Houses, which are both located on hospital grounds. This allowed Lindsey Copley and Peter Grayson to be with Alice throughout her treatment, avoiding a gruelling daily commute from their home in Rotherham.

To thank the charity for supporting her family Lilah will be taking to the heights of the Peak District to raise vital funds. Emma said:

“We are a very active family, and we hike in the Peak District most weekends. Lilah has been walking with us since she was three years old. She recently started doing much longer distances and climbing some of the bigger hills, so she will be well prepared for this challenge.

“Lilah is a child who loves to help and loves a challenge. When we mentioned about doing something to raise money for the charity that supported her aunt, uncle and cousin, she was well up for it! She is an amazing little girl. We cannot express how proud we are that she is taking on this challenge, especially when the charity has done so much to support our family.”

Lilah, who is raring to go with the challenge, added: “I’m excited about taking on the challenge but I know it’s going to be hard. It won’t be as hard as it is for mums and dads who have poorly children in hospital though, like my aunt and uncle, who I want to help.”

The Sick Children’s Trust has ten ‘Homes from Home’ which support families, like Lindsey and Peter, from all across the country while their children are seriously ill in hospital. Lindsey said:

“On top of all the worries about Alice’s condition, the procedures and recovery time we had the worry of having to leave her in hospital and travel 40 minutes back home every day. It wasn’t until we found out about The Sick Children’s Trust that this worry was lifted. Magnolia and Treetop Houses gave us a ‘Home from Home’ just minutes from Alice’s hospital bed. This meant we could cook ourselves a hot meal, have a good night sleep and not have to worry about being far away from Alice. We really are so thankful to the charity for its support.”

The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ‘Homes from Home’ however it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night. That cost is only rising with the cost-of-living crisis which is why the charity needs even more support. Community Fundraising Officer, Connor Haley, said:

“This is a tough challenge for anyone to take on, but for an eight-year-old it is even more incredible. We can’t thank Lilah, Emma and Richard enough for supporting our ‘Homes from Home’ and we’ll be behind them every step of the way.

“As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers, like Lilah, to make sure we can continue supporting families while their children are seriously ill in hospital.”

More information about Lilah’s fundraising can be found on her Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/page/emma-johnson

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