THREE-year-old cancer survivors led a lap of honour to kick off Oxfordshire’s first 24-hour relay in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Evie-Mae Crawford and Martha Hanlon both battled the disease and now their families are raising money and awareness to help others.
They were among about 100 other fundraisers at Oxford Rugby Club, North Hinksey, on Saturday.
At midday they joined five other cancer survivors in a 60-metre lap of honour, cheered on by family and friends. Then teams of between eight and 15 people took turns to run or walk round the club ground throughout the afternoon and into the night.
A Candle of Hope ceremony was also held at the club on Saturday evening in memory of lost cancer patients.
Martha underwent chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in April 2013 after falling ill on a family trip to Dorset.
Martha’s mother Eve Hanlon, 32, of Bowness Avenue, Headington, said she was proud her “inspirational” daughter was able to take part in the event. She said: “It was a real privilege to be asked. Martha was really excited and did lots of training in our garden.
“We wanted to help raise the profile as a way of saying thank-you to the charity for carrying out the research conducted before Martha was diagnosed.”
Evie-May was born with two holes in her heart and Down’s Syndrome and had chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia. She has now been given the all-clear but is still being monitored.
Martha is still undergoing treatment but is on the road to recovery.
Dad Stuart Crawford, 36, of Fane Drive, Berinsfield, said: “We wanted to show people that they can fight through it and if they catch it early enough they can win – and to show her off and show how proud we are of her.”
Funds raised will support Cancer Research UK’s work at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
Event chairman Mike Hughes said they had raised £5,000 so far and said: “The idea behind the 24-hour relay was that cancer never sleeps, so for one day neither will we.
And it was amazing to have two such special, brave girls helping us.”
- Call Rachel Brockie on 07733 225563 if you would like to help organise next year’s event.
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