Oundle girl raises hospital funds

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A BRAVE little girl stepped out to raise money for a hospital which helped her beat a one-in-a-million blood disease.

Four-year-old Lana Leeson joined hundreds of others in a 10-mile walk round Hyde Park on Sunday in aid of the Children’s Charity at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

She was rushed into hospital when only nine weeks old and diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.

Her life was saved when she was given a bone marrow transplant, aged ten-months, at Great Ormond Street.

She is now fully fit and with her parents Vanessa and Richard, of New Road, Oundle, she joined other children and their families on the walk. She smashed her target of £300, raising a staggering £1,175 with more to come.

Mum Vanessa said: “It was a fantastic day. Lana walked much further than we expected and completed most of the final lap.

“She has already decided to walk even further next year so it looks like we are doing it again.

“It was a really nice atmosphere. We were with a lot of other people who had been through a similar thing as well as people we had support from.

“And there were lots of other people in the park who asked us about what we were doing so it was a fantastic chance to raise awareness as well as funds.

“Lana was a little overwhelmed at first with the number of people but she has really enjoyed it.”

Vanessa and Richard faced a desperate race to find a bone marrow match when Lana was first diagnosed with the rare condition.

All their wishes came true when an anonymous donor came forward and in November 2007 she was given the life-saving operation. She now has regular check-ups every six-months at Addenbrookes Hospital, in Cambridge, but is otherwise a fit and healthy child.

She recently started primary school in Oundle and is looking forward to showing her new friends her pictures from Sunday, as well as her T-shirt.

The charity walk is an annual event for the hospital.

Vanessa said: “Lana wanted to do something for the hospital and is beginning to understand the idea of giving something back.

“It was a big topic of conversation to help and when she heard about the walk she jumped at the chance.”

It is still possible to sponsor the family online at www.justgiving.com/VanessaLeeson