More than 400 drenched but determined fundraisers brave the pouring rain and cold to raise an incredible £150,000 to help send little Eden Smith to the USA for cancer treatment.
In one of what must be one of the biggest one-day fundraising events ever seen in the town, friends, family and work colleagues took to the streets on Saturday.
They braved atrocious weather conditions to walk the 22-mile route from Scholes near Holmfirth to the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield – and back.
Their inspiration was six-year-old Holmfirth girl Eden who is undergoing treatment for the aggressive childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
To give her the best chance of keeping the cancer at bay she needs Bivalent Vaccine treatment only available in New York and her family – dad Lee, mum Jen and sister Tia – need to raise around £300,000 to make it possible.
Saturday’s fundraiser has put that £300,000 target firmly in sight and Lee, who took part himself, said: “That was one of the toughest things I have ever done.”
The original target for the Gardens of Eden Tour was £30,000 and Lee revealed that an incredible £150,000 had been raised – with more to come. He described that as an “unbelievable amount of money.”
Lee added: “I can’t thank everyone involved enough but a special thank you needs to go to Andrew Bisset, Mike Wilson, Mel Woodcock and Claire Beaumont who were integral in making the walk happen and also the success it was.
“Something like this just shows what a strong group of friends, family and community we have.”
It was a huge community effort and Lee said he was so grateful to all those who made it possible.
“I want to send a big thank you to everyone who walked, because that was tough, but also those who marshalled, sponsored, donated food, drove support vehicles, those who cooked the food – and Marshy for making the end so entertaining,” said Lee.
“Also, the little girl and her dad who was driving around and handing out sweets to keep us going.
“Everyone who had anything to do with that should be waking up proud of themselves. They were amazing.”
Gallery of images by: SEAN DOYLE
Dad-of-two Marc Townsend, of Brockholes, completed the challenge three times – walking, running and cycling it, and it took its toll.
He said: “It was a hard and enduring course with descents and climbs, highs and lows both emotionally and physically.
“It took me four hours to complete the run which I started at 12 midnight, two hours 45 minutes to complete the cycle with a puncture in the pouring rain and then eight hours to complete the walk soaked through to the bone with my teammates.
“The weather made this challenge hard but equally it made me fight on and ever more determined. Clocking 92,000 steps over the whole challenge, I stepped into Scholes Cricket Club to cheers of relief and enthusiasm that I and my team made it.
“This experience was beyond what I anticipated, there were high points but also real low points. However, what kept me going was knowing to that how hard I was finding it this would only be shortlived and that this pain was nothing compared to what Eden, Lee, Jen and Tia were facing day in day out.
“When it got tough I would look down at my wristband and think of the beautiful smiling face of Eden’s, which we see constantly, and think she and her family won’t give up so I won’t be that doing either!”
Marc’s fundraising target has gone above £3,500 and you can donate HERE.
To find out more about Eden’s campaign search for Eden’s Fight against Cancer – Eden’s Army on Facebook or donate at www.solvingkidscancer.org.uk/Appeal/eden