Five-year-old completes running challenge for brave Leanne

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields, aged five, has run the Race for Life around Gorleston raising money in memory of her aunt Leanne who has died aged 29 from cervical cancer. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

She was too young and just 10cm too small to take part in the real Race for Life with her mum.

But, undeterred, Mabel Shields has run her own version of the 5k fundraising challenge around the streets of her Gorleston home.

The five-year-old pulled on her running shoes in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields who died aged 29 shortly after being given the cancer all-clear.

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Skarlett Perkins, aged ten, was the first to pop a donation in Mabel Shields' bucket as she embarked on the 5k Race for Life around the streets of Gorleston. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

And she was cheered and tooted the whole way round, friends and strangers filling her bucket with £200 in cash and bringing her total to close to £1,500.

Mabel's parents Mark and Naomi Shields, of Beccles Road, said they could not be more proud of their daughter who was inspired by Leanne to support the cancer charity.

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields, aged five, running the Race for Life in Gorleston for her aunt Leanne who has died aged 29. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Although the pair were cousins, Leanne regarded her as her niece, saying how proud she was of Mabel's efforts before she died.

On the day, and with the blessing of Race for Life organisers who had provided a T-shirt and medal, Mabel set off hand-in-hand with her parents, a pair of fluttering fairy wings putting an extra spring in her step.

Leanne Shields is urging others to take up their cervical screening test

Leanne Shields who was diagnosed with cervical cancer on her 29th birthday in October 2020 has died, just as it looked like she had beaten the disease. - Credit: Leann Shields

Mrs Shields, 45, said she was stunned at all the enthusiastic support, people even throwing money from their cars.

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"We had people joining us for some of the way which was lovely, and one of her friends had decorated the house with balloons and made a poster.

"There was so much support it was really quite unexpected. To get an extra £200 was unbelievable," she said.

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields with her parents Mark and Naomi Shields running the Race for Life in Gorleston. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

She said Mabel rewarded those who donated with a beaming smile, completing the distance in 1hr 20mins.

Leanne Shields had spoken openly and honestly about the reality of having cervical cancer after she put off her own screening test.

She was passionate about encouraging all women - but especially those who thought they might be "too young" - to take up their invite to be tested.

In the weeks before her death she raised around £1,000 via a head shave. An event and raffle at Burgh Hall, Burgh Castle, last week raised £2,300 for a memorial tribute.

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields was cheered on as she ran round the streets of Gorleston, one of her friends handing her a motivational poster. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mrs Shields said Leanne would have been amazed by all the fundraising and tributes, and thankful to everyone who had contributed.

To sponsor Mabel search the online donation page via Leanne and Naomi Race for Life.

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields takes a breath while running the 5k Race for Life in Gorleston. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields with parents Mark and Naomi take on the Race for Life in Gorleston. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields proudly holds aloft her pink bucket after friends and strangers tossed in £200 as she ran the Race for Life in the streets around her home in Gorleston. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields celebrates finishing her Race for Life in traditional style bursting through a ribbon. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields enjoys a kiss and a hug from her proud dad Mark as she finishes her Race for Life. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mabel Shields, aged five, runs the Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields.

Mabel Shields is congratulated by passers by as she attempts the Cancer Research Race for Life in Gorleston in memory of her aunt Leanne Shields. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson


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