Thursday, 28 May 2020 00:00

Seven-year-old Jess’s marathon May for EACH

Written by  Becky Fulton
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Seven-year-old Jess’s marathon May for EACH

Jessica Bingham, seven years old, a pupil at Poringland Primary School, has run her first marathon throughout the month of May for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

During May Jess decided she would run one mile each day for 26 days. She decided to take on the challenge for EACH after discovering the impact the COVID-19 outbreak was having on its income. With the charity’s 43 shops across the region closed, a select few of which are set to reopen on 15 June, and fundraising events postponed or cancelled, EACH has lost a significant amount of income.

Jess already had some knowledge of the good cause, as a pupil of Poringland Primary. The school supported EACH through the Nook schools project to help raise funds for The Nook, a new purpose-built children’s hospice in the heart of Norfolk that opened last year.

Jess described on her JustGiving page herethat The Nook “is a wonderful part of the local community”. She said: “I just want to help other children and families a little bit if I can and this will help me to keep running.”

Jess’s mum, Rebecca Bingham, 36, a Paediatric Physiotherapist, has been her running buddy throughout her marathon May challenge, along with dad, Robert Bingham, 36, a Cinema Manager, and younger sister Sophie supporting them on bikes.

Jess had the idea to complete a staggered marathon challenge as teachers suggested filling up a container to raise money for EACH during lockdown, which sparked an interest in Jess who explained to her mum she would like to be a part of the school fundraising team. Jess and mum took to the internet for inspiration, with a close tie between a staggered marathon and a ‘readathon’. Jess was excited but nervous for the challenge of completing a marathon, so chose to run a mile a day to push herself to her limits.

Not only has the charity found an important place in Jess’s heart, but mum Rebecca said: “I was due to start volunteering at The Nook to help with the hydrotherapy service prior to the lockdown, but unfortunately didn’t get to start. I’ve witnessed professionally the amazing contribution EACH makes to the lives of children and their families, providing invaluable support that cannot be accessed anywhere else. EACH provides families with support and comfort during the most challenging and often heart-breaking of times and I’m in awe of the work that everyone involved does, both clinically and behind the scenes.”

During mid-May the family encountered a stumbling block whereby all members of the Bingham household became unwell and were unable to continue running daily. Friends and family took it upon themselves to help clock up the miles by running one mile each until Jess felt better. As Jess started to return to her active and energetic self again, she chose to start off slow by completing her miles around her garden instead of the usual scenic country paths her and her mum would run around Poringland. Even with friends, family and people from Poringland Primary clocking up the miles for Jess’s marathon, she was still determined to run 26 miles herself.

Rebecca added: “We’re so proud of the determination she has shown throughout this challenge. We’re also proud of Sophie who came out on her bike or on foot for the majority of the marathon when she’s wanted to and when she hasn’t. We’ve witnessed moments of such spontaneous loving encouragement it’s been incredibly heart-warming. She has also amazed us with her running speed!”

Tim Jenkins, EACH Norfolk Community Fundraiser, said: “I’m looking forward to personally thanking Jess at her school at some point within the new academic year. She’s shown real determination, pushing through even when becoming rather ill. We can’t thank Jess and her family enough for helping us raise so much in a time where we’re still losing significant amounts of income.”

To support EACH in continuing to provide vital care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions, and support for their families, you can donate here: www.justgiving.com/campaign/each-covid19.

The charity’s fundraising team have been coming up with new at-home fundraising ideas, such as Dress Up Friday, virtual quizzes, haircuts, garden marathons and various others you can find here.

Last modified on Thursday, 28 May 2020 20:09

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