Best friends from Lancashire fundraise to buy slushies for children having chemotherapy

  • Hughie and Freddie joined ITV Granada Reports correspondent Andy Bonner in the studio to chat about their fundraising challenge - and their new book.

Two best friends who share an unbreakable bond are taking on 100km challenge to help buy slushy drinks for children's hospitals treating young cancer patients.

Hughie Higginson and Freddie Xavi, from Lancashire, have raised more than £250,000 for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, where Hughie receives chemotherapy.

At the age of nine, the schoolboy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and will continue to have treatment every month.

Hughie and Freddie cross the finish line of their 100km challenge to raise money of Manchester's children hospital in 2020. Credit: JustGiving

Together, they are embarking on a new challenge, running 100km around 100 football pitches in the Premier League and English Football League.

The money raised from each run will go to the children's hospital in that area. For example, their run around Anfield will be donated to Alder Hey.

The friends hope the funds will help provide slushy drink pouches for children suffering from mouth sores during chemotherapy.

"It's horrible", explains Hughie. "I've only had it once but I've seen children who have been in agony and it is really hard to watch.

"They want something cold but the parents have to go out and buy ice-pops because they [the hospitals] don't have anything on hand.

"We just thought, we want to get something for you to have there and then."

Hughie and Freddie on the red carpet at the Pride of Britain awards. Credit: ITV News

It is not the first time the friends have fundraised for a cause close to their hearts.

In 2020, Freddie raised money for Manchester Children's Hospital as thank you to the doctors and nurse who are helping to save Hughie's life.

He took on the challenge of running 100km over the space of 50 days, raising tens of thousands of pounds.

For their incredible efforts, Freddie and Hughie went on to win Young Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2021.

Hughie will continue his course of chemo until March 2024, but in the meantime the pair have created a “vibrant picture book”, all about the importance of friendship.

"The book's about how you can be an amazing friend and why it's important to be a friend for somebody else", Hughie explains.

One of the characters in their book (middle with glasses) is based on a friend Liam, who sadly passed away. Credit:

One of the characters in their book is based on one of Hughie's good friends, Liam, who he met in the hospital. Sadly, Liam passed away a few months ago.

"We were in a bay together, he was having a really tough time and a few months ago we found out the news that he'd passed away", Hughie says.

"It was just before the last copy of the book was being printed so we asked if could get a character that looks like Liam in it.

"I was so glad that we got to tell him two weeks before he died that he was going to be in the book."

From every copy of Friends Are Amazing sold, 25p will be donated to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity.

To donate to Hughie and Freddie's football stadium challenge, visit their fundraising page.

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