ANNABEL Lally looks just like any other eight-year-old when she is playing with her friends.

But the pupil at Windale Community Primary School, Blackbird Leys, has battled leukaemia since she was a toddler, receiving chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

Now, to thank the staff at Oxford Children’s Hospital, mum Lorrain Lally, 39, has signed up for the OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on Sunday, March 25.

Last year, runners raised about £60,000 for equipment at the hospital that the NHS cannot provide. Organisers hope 1,000 runners will raise £100,000 next month.

The Nightingale Avenue, Greater Leys, resident said: “We have spent a lot of time in the hospital and Kamran’s Ward feels like home to me now – the staff are great and some of them are like family.

“By taking part in the OX5 Run, I feel as though I will be giving something back and have already raised £405.

“I will never be able to say thank you because there are not enough words, but if I can raise some money I feel it’s something towards it.”

Annabel was diagnosed at 18 months and made a recovery after two years of chemotherapy.

But the disease returned when she was six. She had two years of radiation treatment and a bone marrow transplant, staying in an isolation ward for a month.

Now Annabel has regular check-ups, but is back at school and getting on with life.

The race is organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by recruitment firm Allen Associates, JACK FM and stores at Marriotts Walk shopping centre in Witney.

Hospital spokesman Penny Hambridge said: “It’s important that children like Annabel, who have to spend a long time in hospital, have plenty of things to do that keep them entertained.

“Fundraising events such as the OX5 Run provided funds for things like PlayStations and Internet-linked computers, which play an absolutely vital role in allowing children to keep in touch with their friends via email and Facebook.”