Group walk a million steps each to raise money in support of six-year-old Bedfordshire girl undergoing treatment for leukaemia

So far they've raised more than £21,000

Monday, 17th May 2021, 6:15 pm

A group of walkers have dusted off their trainers for a mammoth charity challenge in support of Rachel Spencer - who suffers from a rare disease.

The six-year-old, from Harrold, was diagnosed with Philadelphia positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Ph+ALL) in April 2019 when aged four.

Her mum Hannah and family friend Annie Abbatt set up Rachel's Rainbow Dashers, a special named fund at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), which aims to raise money for much-needed research into all childhood cancers.

Rachel Spencer and mum Hannah

Hannah, Annie and their supporters had been preparing for a year-long fundraising schedule when the pandemic put paid to their plans of 12 'marathon” challenges in 12 months.

But instead, they are now walking a million steps each during this month and April.

A combined 8.5 million steps were completed in the first two weeks of the challenge - the equivalent of 4,236 miles or the distance of London to Delhi.

Annie said: “Some people are powering away, it’s great. It’s hard work but everyone’s doing well.

Volunteers stepping out

“You can’t just fall behind, because if you have a day where you do a low amount, you have to make up so many on the other days.”

Hannah added: “I’ve got blisters all over my feet, someone has a bad Achilles, someone has a bad back, but people are just getting on with it, doing really well.

“We just think of Rachel every time we are struggling, and we keep going.”

Hannah said that despite the gruelling treatment Rachel has faced, which at times has left her unable to walk, she has faced everything with immense bravery and is now back at school full time.

Rachel during treatment

She said: “Rachel’s doing well, she’s got about another year of maintenance but is really strong again. She’s lost a large part of a ‘normal’ childhood but has taken everything in her stride.

“She never complains or questions anything and faces it all with a smile.”

The challenge has so far raised more than £21,000, which Hannah said will help support research into kinder, more effective treatments and to help find cures for all types of the children’s cancers.

Hannah said that despite the gruelling treatment protocol Rachel has faced, which at times has left her unable to walk, run, swim or do many of the things she enjoys, she has faced everything with immense bravery and is now back at school full time.

Rachel Spencer