Kind Courtney, 11, goes on run to send cancer mum on holiday

Courtney Wells's sponsored run will raise cash for her dancing school (Team KT) and her mother's friend, Leanne Picken, who has cancer.
Courtney Wells's sponsored run will raise cash for her dancing school (Team KT) and her mother's friend, Leanne Picken, who has cancer.

A kind-hearted little girl is going on the run to help a cancer-hit mum take her children on holiday.

When 11-year-old Courtney Wells learned that her mum’s friend, Leanne Picken, had been diagnosed with cancer, she stepped in to give the family a special treat.

Leanne Picken with her children Shay, nine, Jayden, seven, and Hallie, five.

Leanne Picken with her children Shay, nine, Jayden, seven, and Hallie, five.

The Harton Technology College pupil, of St Cuthbert’s Avenue, South Shields, is doing a sponsored three-mile run from Minchella’s ice cream parlour in Ocean Road to its sister shop at Marsden Grotto tomorrow.

The youngster is hoping to raise as much money as she can to help Leanne, who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in January, take her three kids, Shay, nine, Jayden, seven, and Hallie, five, on a trip.

Courtney’s mum, Melissa Pelling and Leanne have been friends since they met at Downhill Infants School, in South Shields, before continuing their education together at Cheviot Juniors and the then Harton Comprehensive.

Melissa, 30, who is also mum to Lee-Jay, eight, and twins Natalia and Bentley, four, said: “Leanne was running a bonus ball to raise a little bit of money to help take the kids on holiday and I mentioned it when I ended up winning.

To be thinking about other people the way she is at her age is just brilliant and I couldn’t be prouder.

Melissa Pelling, Courtney’s mum

“Courtney asked why she was doing it, so I sat her down and told her about Leanne having cancer and straight away she said, ‘what can I do to help?’

“I was gobsmacked. I asked her what she was wanted to do and she ­suggested a sponsored run between the two Minchellas.

“I told her it was quite far but she said she wanted to do it.

“I put a message out about it on Facebook and straight away loads of my friends started saying they’d sponsor her.”

Courtney, who attends Team KT dance school, in South Shields, is also raising funds to help send the troupe to competitions.

Melissa added: “She decided she wants the first £50 to be given to Leanne and then any money after that should be split between Leanne and the dance school.

“I’m just so proud of her for wanting to do something like this for others, especially since it was all her idea.

“To be thinking about other people the way she is at her age is just brilliant and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Kim Thompson, who runs the dance school, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013 and has had treatment to battle the disease.

She said: “Teaching my dance class while I was going through chemotherapy and seeing all their little smiling faces was what kept me strong.

“When Courtney said she was doing this, it was just the icing on the cake.”

If you’d like to sponsor Courtney for her run, email Melissa at mel.pelling
@outlook.com or call her on 07460 899505.