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Grateful Leah stepping out

PUBLISHED: 17:28 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:56 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

WHEN Leah Wilby pulls on her running bib to join an effort to raise millions of pounds for a cancer-conquering charity the words emblazoned on it will read simply “me.

WHEN Leah Wilby pulls on her running bib to join an effort to raise millions of pounds for a cancer-conquering charity the words emblazoned on it will read simply “me.”

For while other people wear the name of a loved-one they have lost, Leah is inspired by her own survival, having battled a form of childhood cancer and faced “touch and go” setbacks that would

have ended her running ambition.

Already the 12-year-old is in training for the 5km run at the Norfolk showground next Saturday, and appropriately for an event known for its camaraderie and sisterhood will be joined by her sister Keata, 11.

Mum Debbie, who because the girls are under 16 will have to put on her running shoes too, said the pair hatched the plan to run in Norwich's Race for Life together and aimed to raise £1,000 between them.

She said Leah was extremely grateful to medics for their life-saving treatment and wanted to give something back. Although the schoolgirl faces three-monthly check-ups her health problems are over and she leads a completely normal life.

But, Debbie added, the journey to this point had been long and emotional from the day when a harmless-looking lump appeared on her neck, to February last year when treatment finally stopped. In between that time Leah faced two major operations, 31 blood transfusions, 78 platelet transfusions and near death when she developed septicaemia in a Hickman line as well as chemotherapy and highly radioactive treatment.

She said: “To do this she will be pulling out all the stops. She sees this as giving something back. No doubt they will both be very stiff the next day which is why we are doing it on the Saturday so they can recover before they go back to school.”

Race for Life is personal to many people who run it and will be emotional for Debbie and husband Richard who are proud of both of their bubbly, determined daughters, whose time apart while Leah was in hospital has forged a special bond.

To sponsor Leah and

Keata visit www.raceforlife

sponsorme.org/LeahWilby or the same address followed by KeataWilby. Alternatively cheques made payable to Race for Life can be sent to the family home at 10 Garrison Road, Great Yarmouth,

NR30 1PZ.

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