A BIG-HEARTED Fermanagh family is pulling out all the stops to March a Million steps for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
Mum Janet, dad Alwyn and sons Kyle (14) and Karl (10) are aiming to reach a million steps by the end of March. They have already raised over £2,000 to help support the charity’s lifeline services such as counselling, family support and specialist bra-fitting for women with breast cancer.
The Maguiresbridge family is determined to keep the pace up after Janet’s sister Denise was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Denise, who is currently recovering from surgery, used the Cancer Focus NI counselling service. Another sister, Sandra, is also marching a million for the charity, though she is doing it on her own because of social distancing.
Cancer Focus NI is asking people across Northern Ireland to complete ‘the one million steps’ starting on March 1 – that’s 10,000 steps a day for 100 days, or 500 miles, or more than 18 full marathons if you’re doing it solo. Split between four people that would amount to 10,000 steps for 25 days each.
You can walk, run, dance or push your steps, split them between a group of friends or complete the million all on your own.
“My sister Sandra loves walking and doing March a Million was her idea. We were all so shocked when Denise was diagnosed. This is the first time cancer has hit our family and we very much felt we wanted to give something back. Denise has used Cancer Focus NI’s counselling service and we liked the fact that it is a local charity, so we
decided to fundraise for them,” Janet explained.
“In our house, it’s mainly Alwyn and the boys who have taken up the challenge as I have multiple sclerosis, so I’m just walking into the village and back. I can’t do longer distances.
“The boys both have Fitbits and Alwyn, who’s on his feet a lot at work, has an app on his phone to keep count. Kyle loves football so that chalks up the miles while Karl is so excited by the idea he does anything from running around the house to taking our dog Pippin out to get his score up. He’s a whirlwind, going right overboard,” she said.
“We initially set a target of £200 but I think we reached that in the first two days so we kept going. It is fascinating us how generous people are and we can’t thank them enough.
“The challenge is a fantastic distraction for us all when we are so limited in what we can do during lockdown. I’d encourage everyone to sign up and help out Cancer Focus NI, which does such wonderful work support cancer patients and their families all over Northern Ireland.”
Kathryn Holland, outdoor events manager, Cancer Focus NI, said: “We really need all the support we can get at the moment and can’t continue our work without your help”
Whichever way you choose to do it, you need to complete the March a Million challenge before May 31. It costs £5 to register and Cancer Focus NI asks you to raise whatever you can in sponsorship. Simply visit www.cancerfocusni.org/million and sign up.If you’d like to donate to the Armstrong’s challenge visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kettyles4
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