A TRIO of siblings from Newcastle are calling on kids across the city to get muddy for a good cause this summer – at a brand-new event from Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life coming to the Town Moor.
Mary Dafter, aged 14, who is a cancer survivor, got a face full of mud from her excited siblings Carrie, 10, and Chris, 7, as they practiced for the new Race for Life Pretty Muddy Kids event which is designed specifically for children.
It will take place for the first time at Town Moor, Newcastle on Saturday 14 July and Mary, Carrie and Chris are encouraging boys and girls to sign up and help make a splash for Cancer Research UK.
Pretty Muddy Kids is a new exciting obstacle course designed just for children – with added mud, thrills and spills.
From scramble nets and space hoppers to mud chutes and muddy pools, children will face a range of fun and muddy obstacles to crawl under, clamber over and charge through.
The Race for Life family of events also includes the traditional 5k, 10k and Pretty Muddy courses, which thousands of women will take part in at the same venue on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July.
By taking part in Pretty Muddy Kids, children can have fun with friends and help raise valuable funds to beat cancer sooner at the same time. Money raised will help Cancer Research UK scientists find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease, helping save more lives like Mary.
Mary Dafter, who is a pupil at Emmanuel College was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in April 2014 after more than two years of tests.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bone and soft tissue of the body.
Just days after her seventh birthday in 2011 Mary’s parents noticed a lump on her shoulder when she fell over while doing karaoke.
She was referred by her GP for tests at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle including an ultrasound then an MRI scan.
Nothing was initially thought of the lump and it was agreed it would be monitored, but after more than two years and having ongoing check-ups and tests doctors decided to remove it as it had changed size and colour.
Once removed, on 19th March 2014, further investigation revealed it was cancerous and Mary had Ewing’s sarcoma in her soft tissue.
It is a rare type of bone cancer and is most common in teenagers, but Mary’s cancer was made even rarer as hers was in her skin, the soft tissue, around her shoulder rather than the bone.
Following her diagnosis Mary began a period of intensive chemotherapy and different surgeries to remove the cancer. This involved long stays in hospital and having to be fed through a tube, something which she found very difficult to adapt to.
Mary’s dad Chris Dafter, 34, said: “Mary was initially really against being fed through a tube and found it very difficult, but she got there in the end and was even helping other children on the ward with the same problem.”
The experience also had a huge impact on her younger siblings Carrie and Chris as they had to spend a lot of time away from Mary during her long stays in hospital.
But it was all worth it as Mary completed her chemotherapy in December 2014 and has been cancer free since then.
Now Carrie and Chis are wanting to do their bit to show how special Mary is to them by taking part in Pretty Muddy Kids, while giving them a great excuse to get covered in mud!
The event is open to boys and girls aged from 5 to 12 years old and there is a minimum height requirement of 1.2m. All children must be accompanied by a supervising adult, who have free entry to the event. The entry fee for Pretty Muddy Kids is £10.00.
Lisa Millett, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson for Newcastle, said: “We’re delighted that Town Moor will be hosting a Pretty Muddy Kids event for the first time this summer and that some of our first participants will be the Dafter family who have seen first hand just how important research into cancer is.
“The obstacle course promises plenty of fun, thrills and spills and we hope children will rally their friends, family and schoolmates to sign up and get messy for Cancer Research UK.
“Children can complete the Pretty Muddy Kids course at their own pace, climbing, jumping, walking and laughing their way around. Whether they’re bouncing on a space hopper or clambering under a cargo net, every muddy step they take will help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress.