With less than a week to go, Candlelighters charity mascot Champ is gearing up for the greatest challenge yet! Accompanied by his fellow colleagues, Head of Family Support Natalie and Family Network Coordinator Carly from the Candlelighters team – they are ready for this incredible challenge!

On Sunday 8th of September 2019 Champ will take on the Great North Run in Newcastle to raise money and awareness for children and their families affected by childhood cancer across Yorkshire. This will be Champ’s debut challenge for Candlelighters. Natalie, Head of Family Support said, “Forget the London Marathon, The Three Peaks or even jumping out of a plane, this will be our biggest challenge so far!! This year we will be running the Great North Run for Candlelighters in our brand new mascot, Champ!”

Each year, around 150 children in Yorkshire are diagnosed with cancer and when a child receives a diagnosis, lives are turned upside down in an instant, not just for the child but for their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends and extended family. Getting well again can be a long and challenging journey, physically, emotionally and even financially. Candlelighters provide financial, emotional and practical support to children and their families affected by childhood cancer across Yorkshire, from diagnosis and for as long as families need it.

Carly, Family Network Coordinator at Candlelighters shares why she’s taking on the challenge, “Natalie and I work for Candlelighters within the Family Support Team, but we have both been affected by childhood cancer and supported by Candlelighters in the past. My son Brad was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma back in 2014 but sadly passed away 10 months later just 2 weeks before his 16th Birthday. Natalie sadly lost her sister Lauren in 2009 when she was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma at the age of 14.” Over the years, both Natalie and Carly have taken on a whole variety of fundraising challenges for Candlelighters and are determined to raise vital funds for the charity once again this weekend up in Newcastle.

Champ the mascot weighs a “mammoth” 10kg – not the most ideal costume to be running the Great North Run in! Training has been tough over the past few months and with the recent hot weather, it has made it even tougher to train in a giant mascot! Ventilation within the mascot is very restricted too which makes the challenge more arduous, “Natalie and I will be taking it in turns to wear the costume on the course spending up to 90 minutes at a time in the costume, whilst the other acts as a guide due to the restricted vision in our giant elephant!”

Champ has certainly got Yorkshire talking! On the day, Champ will be joined by many other runners from #TeamCandlelighters – so look out for some great big ears and a sea of pink hitting the streets of Newcastle this weekend!! “What spurs us on the most, is knowing that we can help towards supporting more families and also keeping Brad and Lauren’s memory alive.” – Carly Barraclough.

Champ (Carly and Natalie) are looking to complete the course in under 4 and a half hours and will be looking out for your support on the day! If you would like to donate to their Just Giving page, head to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natandcarly

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