TWO primary school children who simply want to help find a cure for the "bad disease that makes people sick" have raised an amazing total of over £10,500 for Cancer Research.
The mother of Rachel (six) and Matthew (five), of Artigarvan Primary School, Esme McGerrigle said she couldn't be prouder of her children after they walked 300,000 steps through the month of March in a challenge called 'Walk All Over Cancer'.
"Every family is affected by cancer and ours is no exception and that's why Cancer Research is a cause we hold dear to our heart," said Esme.
"Much to our amazement and pride, Rachel and Matthew discussed this with each other and came up with the idea to do the 10,000 step challenge in March with me.
"And I really couldn't be prouder of them.
"I loved doing it because it allowed me to spend precious time with them that I wouldn't have normally got with my children as a busy and working mummy.
"Before lockdown, they weren't great walkers, so I'm really delighted for them because they completed the fundraiser with absolutely no bother."
The children have a Fitbit of their own and they set a target of 10,000 steps per day, while Esme aimed for 20,000 steps.
They walked to school each morning, and when the day was complete they would put their trainers back on for another trek or two in order to get the steps up.
In fact, after accepting a challenge from a family member, they walked an amazing 42,000 steps in one day, earning another £50 for the charity.
"That was a real highlight for me," said Esme.
"With a lockdown enforced, we just stayed locally and enjoyed our beautifully own countryside," continued Esme, who documented each walk in an online blog.
Initially, the family set out to raise just £250 for charity, so to generate over £10,500 - and counting - for such a worthwhile cause has completely blown them away.
"We said if the children didn't quite reach the target, we would add to it to get up to £250. But I cannot believe the way it has taken off," said Esme.
"This shows the community spirit is simply unreal, and even 26 local businesses donated vouchers or cash prizes towards the cause. Their generosity has been second to none."
Everyone in the community has got on board to support the McGerrigle family, including Artigarvan Primary School - who "treated them like wee heroes" - and Derry City and Strabane District Council, who employs Esme.
The Mayor, Brian Tierney, even uploaded a video on his Facebook page where he congratulated the family.
Their neighbours - James McDermott and Gemma Graham - also completed a six-hour spin on March 31, with Esme joining in for the last two hours as part of the charity fundraiser.
"I'm just a completely proud mummy because only for Rachel and Matthew walking all those steps, we wouldn't have raised all this money.
"Who knew such a small idea could raise so much money and awareness for charity?"
Esme also wanted to take her sister Lorraine Andrews and goddaughter Izzie Andrews who helped with a raffle.
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