A sponsored 21-mile walk organised by Eden Smith’s family has raised around £10,000 for charity … and eight-year-old Eden did most of the walk too.

Just over two years ago Eden was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma which triggered months of gruelling treatment that has ultimately been successful but the only way to try to stop it coming back is to get specialist treatment in New York.

The 21-mile walk yesterday (Saturday, July 24) was called Miles For Smiles and was raising money for the charity Neuroblastoma UK which develops new, more effective and kinder treatments for children with neuroblastoma.

The 140 walkers set off from Scholes Cricket Club above Holmfirth at 8.30am and the route took them to the John Smith’s Stadium and then back to the cricket club. It took most of the walkers about six hours and people came out of their homes to cheer the group on and throw money into their fundraising buckets.

Eden’s dad, Lee, said: “Eden was only going to do about five miles but ended up doing 15 – I don’t know how she did it. In the morning it was overcast with a breeze but once the sun came out it was boiling hot. It was such a different to last year when it was torrential rain from start to finish.

“People were very kind supporting us on the way and people who drove past blew their horns. On the way back the heat was really getting to everybody.”

The walk’s main sponsor is Meltham commercial property company Towndoor Ltd.

Eden’s treatment in New York is costly but the Huddersfield community rallied round to raise more than half-a-million pounds to fund the price of the treatment there now and in the years ahead.

Eden, who lives with Lee, mum Jen and 10-year-old sister Tia in Wooldale near Holmfirth, was given the all-clear from cancer last November but needs to undergo scans at Leeds General Infirmary every 12 weeks to ensure she’s still clear.

She was first in New York for 30 nights over Christmas and New Year and returned at the start of February and April with further trips planned for July and December.

Each time she has a vaccine but it needs such special preparation it must be administered within 30 minutes of being drawn up.

The neuroblastoma Eden was diagnosed with in April 2021 is a rare and aggressive childhood cancer that has a 40% to 50% chance of long-term survival at diagnosis and affects fewer than 100 children in the UK every year. Scans and tests showed the cancer was in seven places around Eden’s body.

She completed gruelling chemotherapy, had a major nine-hour operation then stem cell treatment involving a 35-day isolation stay in hospital, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. To prevent the cancer returning Eden now needs the pioneering Bivalent Vaccine treatment she is now on which is only available in New York.

Photos taken by Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE.

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.