Fundraisers rally round for inspirational Clitheroe's mum's epic 874-mile charity challenge

A Clitheroe mum whose son was diagnosed with cancer aged just 13 has received "phenomenal support" from kind people who are walking, running and cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats to raise money for heroic charities that have helped her family.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 12:30 pm

Teresa (Tess) Walker (41), set herself a target of completing a 874-mile fundraising walk/run in 10 months. The challenge began on January 1st and mother-of-three Tess decided to take on the "Miles for Warriors" mission after meeting so many "brave, strong warriors" at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where her teenage son, Drew (14), was being treated.

She aimed to raise £4,000 to support the charities who stood by the family through the "nightmare" experienced since September last year. However, she easily surpassed the target thanks to the generosity of fundraisers who have not only been moved by her story, but took the plunge and joined her in her challenge and either walked, ran or cycled raising almost £6,000. Local businesses have also pledged support with Blackburn-based Stones Young Sales and Lettings estate agents providing running vests for all the participants to help raise awareness of the challenge.

"The support has been unbelievable," explained Tess. "I posted our story on social media thinking a couple of friends might join in, then, before I knew it and in less than a week, I had more than 50 people asking if they could do the challenge covering the miles themselves!

Tess Walker, Elizabeth Campbell, Sarah Dawson, Emma Gunner, Catherine Young, Kerry Lonsdale, Jenny King, Rachel Hough, James Houghton, Adrian Melton, Abi ONeill and Sara Tomlinson

"We’ve run and walked, even cycled throughout the winter months in rain, sleet, ice and snow and are now well into the warmer months. One of the members completed the distance and is now on her way back in the opposite direction. In addition, only a week ago, a marathon row and bike challenge took place. Over £600 was raised for the Foundation for Ribble Valley Families, as well as our own Clitheroe End-to-End challenge. A special thanks to CrossFit Clitheroe for organising this."

Tess and her husband Mark (43), who run the popular Walkers fruit and vegetable stall on Clitheroe Market, are grateful to every single person who is going the extra mile to raise more cash for deserving cancer charities.

The couple's world was turned upside down when in September last year, Drew collapsed at the Swan Courtyard in Clitheroe, before being rushed by ambulance to resuscitation. He was transferred to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital after a scan showed an image. There, he was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer in the lymph nodes. They found an 8cm tumour behind his nose, sat against his brain. It had grown into his ear, nose and he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit after it began pushing his palette down, closing his airways.

For the initial few months, Drew, who is a pupil at St Augustine's RC High School, Billington, was in and out of hospital undergoing chemotherapy, but the family experienced a huge milestone just a few days before Christmas when brave Drew rang a bell to celebrate beating the cancer. Drew is currently having regular check ups and doing everything he can to battle his way back to full health again.

Ali Garrity

Tess, who is also mother to Reuben (15) and 10-year-old Brodie, is determined to continue with her fundraising until her 874-mile charity challenge comes to an end.

Anyone wishing to support her is asked to CLICK HERE.

Rachel Elizabeth Toole