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Teen tackling London Marathon in her mum’s memory

BEST FOOT FORWARD ... 18-year-old Jaimee thinks mum Elizabeth Ridley, inset, would be proud of her fundraising efforts  and also surprised by them.

BEST FOOT FORWARD ... 18-year-old Jaimee thinks mum Elizabeth Ridley, inset, would be proud of her fundraising efforts  and also surprised by them.

A DETERMINED teenager from South Tyneside is making a marathon effort to raise money in memory of her mum.

Eighteen-year-old Jaimee Ridley is aiming to run the London Marathon in aid of Leukaemia Care in April.

The Gateshead College student, who lives in Chichester, South Shields, and helps dad Kelvin Moy, 54, care for sister Elizabeth, 10, says she wants to support those suffering from the disease, and their families.

She said: “My sister went through hell watching what my mam went through and I want to help other families, so they don’t have to suffer what we did.”

Jaimee and her family lost adopted mum Elizabeth Ridley to cancer just over a year ago.

The 53-year-old was diagnosed with lymphatic lymphoma that caused leukaemia in her blood and bone marrow.

She died after battling the disease for two years.

Jaimee said: “I was 16 when she passed away. I missed a lot of school.

“I used to call in sick to go to the hospital when my mam went in for treatment so I could go with her, and I ended up having to resit two of my GCSE exams.

“I helped look after Elizabeth too. My dad looks after us, but I help him with everything. I just couldn’t concentrate and it affected my school work.”

Now Jaimee, who wants to be a nurse, has set herself the challenge of raising the £2,500 fundraising target needed to take part in the London Marathon for the Leukaemia Care team.

She also wants to raise an extra £2,500 for the Charlie Cookson Foundation, which raises money to help poorly children, in memory of the South Shields youngster, who died of a mystery condition in October, aged just two.

“The lady who comes to clean our house to help my dad out told me about Charlie,” said Jaimee, who is also shaving her hair off on New Year’s Day, to raise money towards the fund.

“It made me really sad so I got in touch with Charlie’s mum, Sarah, to ask if I could help raise money for them and she said yes. We are really good friends now.”

Charlie, of Simonside, South Shields, spent the first two months of his life in the special care baby unit at Newcastle’s RVI as doctors tried to stabilise his weight and fight off an unknown infection.

He spent much of his life in hospital as doctors tried to diagnose a baffling range of conditions, overcoming a number of illnesses – including meningitis and septicaemia – and undergoing operations including two hernia repairs and a brain biopsy.

Jaimee hopes to split £5,000 equally between Leukaemia Care and the foundation set up by Charlie’s family.

“I think my mam would be proud,” she said. “I’m absolutely terrified of taking on the run – I’ve just done five miles, so there’s a way to go yet.

“I think she would be surprised that I’m doing the run and shaving my head, but not that I’m doing it to help people.”

To donate to Jaimee’s cause, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JaimeeRidley.

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

 

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