Teenager stepping length of Wales to raise money for hospital charity that saved both of her siblings' lives

A teenager from Llanbradach, near Caerphilly, is stepping the length of Wales to raise money for the hospital charity that saved both of her siblings' lives.

Erin Hancock will attempt to take 421,000 steps in aid of Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity.

Wales is approximately 170 miles long from north to south.

The 14-year-old will complete the challenge at home where her family are self-isolating to protect her siblings, who are classed as vulnerable to coronavirus.

She has already raised more than £2000 for the charity, which announced a 50 per cent drop in fundraising as a result of the crisis.

Erin wanted to raise money to thank the charity for caring for her siblings. Credit: Family photo/Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity

Erin Hancock's seven-year-old brother, Joe, was left almost completely blind after two years of chemotherapy for a tumour on his optic nerve.

The siblings' younger sister, now three-year-old Molly, was born shortly after Joe's diagnosis in 2016.

Half way through his first year of treatment Molly started having problems with her breathing.

In 2018 she was admitted to the paediatric critical care unit at the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital for Wales after going into respiratory failure.

Molly was fitted with a gastrostomy and spent 18 months being fed through an NG tube after developing feeding issues. She has since been diagnosed with a genetic condition which is now controlled with medication.

If it wasn’t for this amazing hospital my family and other families like mine wouldn’t be where we are today.

Erin Hancock

Erin said: “We’ve spent a lot of time at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital but it’s a bright, happy place where all of us have always felt comfortable going.

"It’s more important now than ever in these difficult circumstances to show support for charities like these."

Erin is aiming to hit 6,000 steps a day over 75 days by walking around her garden or up and down the stairs.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like if my brother or sister were in hospital now and I wasn’t able to see them because of the lockdown.

"They support the children through the toughest of times and they’ll be needed now more than ever.”

The teenager joins a number of children around the country to take up the fundraiser challenge for the charity.

Children around the country have taken on the step challenge. Credit: Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity

Noah's Ark Charity is among others that have reported a significant fall in fundraising because of the virus.

The Wales Council for Voluntary Action has warned that many charities in Wales will close their doors for good.

Noah’s Ark Charity director, Suzanne Mainwaring, said: "With so many of our traditional ways of fundraising now shut off to us and with the public very understandably concerned about issues closer to home, we have been really concerned about our ability to get through this current crisis.

"Like Joe and Molly, many long term Noah’s Ark patients are now at home and have been incomplete isolation for up to six weeks already.

"We wanted to give families something fun and active that they could do together from the comfort of home that also provided them with the opportunity to contribute in some way if they wanted to.

"All the money they are raising right now is going directly to supporting frontline staff to help families affected by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis."

People can join in on the challenge here.