A Cramlington family recently put their best foot forward for North of England Children’s Cancer Research (NECCR).
Field service engineer Kim Hodkinson, his wife Julia and their children, Daisy and Tyla, all took part in the fifth annual Big Walk at the Blagdon Estate.
They joined hundreds of fund-raisers, and award winning author Bill Bryson, to raise money for the children’s cancer charity.
In April 2013 at the age of five, Tyla was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia – a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
After three years of treatment, in July this year he completed his last course of chemotherapy and he took part in the Big Walk on foot for the first time when the event was held earlier this month.
Kim said: “It was a particularly special day for our family as it’s the first Big Walk event since Tyla completed his treatment.
“Three generations of the family took part this year – the first year Tyla has been able to walk unaided after previously taking part in the walk in an assisted pushchair.
“It’s research funded by organisations such as the NECCR that has saved my little boy’s life.
“We have seen first-hand the impact that cancer can have on a child and the rest of the family and want to make a positive difference by donating to research.”
Fund-raisers were given exclusive access by Viscount and Viscountess Ridley to explore Blagdon’s grounds, which are normally closed to the public, on the guided six-mile walk that took in the Northumberland Cheese Factory and Milkhope Centre for refreshments along the way.
As a patron of NECCR, author Bill Bryson was present on the day to complete a special book signing and Q&A session before joining the walkers on their tour across the estate.
He said: “There isn’t a more worthy cause than trying to conquer children’s cancer and almost everybody that I’ve talked to on the walk over the years is connected to childhood cancer directly through either their own experience or that of a family member, which I think brings a shared sentiment to this event.”
All funds raised at the Big Walk will go towards researching better treatments for childhood cancers that could help save the lives of young people stricken by the illness.
For more information about the charity, visit www.neccr.org.uk