This week’s #fundraiserfriday star is a remarkable lady who will be taking on a remarkable challenge. Natalie Bradburn’s baby daughter Grace was admitted to hospital on her first birthday, after suffering a catastrophic reaction to chicken pox. Despite a long and brave fight Grace passed away aged 13 months. It was discovered after her death that Grace was missing a large piece of Chromosome 7 which meant her little body was unable to fight the virus. The charity COSMIC funded the sequencing of Grace’s genome and the subsequent research that has been undertaken, helping the medical profession to understand more about the human immune system and save others’ lives.
To say thank you to the committed team on Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) that looked after Grace, Natalie and her wonderful family and friends have supported COSMIC through sponsored challenges and donations over the past years. Their efforts have led to over £100,000 being raised in memory of Grace, an incredible contribution which has made a huge difference to the unit.
On March 26th, to celebrate what would have been her daughter’s 10th birthday Natalie will be walking 50 miles (almost 2 full marathons!) for the More Smiles appeal. Her walk reflects the final journey that Grace took, in a children’s intensive care ambulance, to the PICU at St Mary’s. The walk will start at 5am at The Royal Berks, passing by Grace’s grave at 2.5 miles, and arriving in London at about 9pm.
Natalie has been training 3 nights a week, with a long 4 hour session on the weekend, covering over 25 miles per week. Many of her friends will be joining her for part of the walk, including founder of St Mary’s PICU Dr Parviz Habibi & Prof Mike Levin. Pupils at the school Natalie also supported her by taking part in their own sponsored walk in February.
COSMIC charity said “We would like to wish Natalie all the best with her training and we look forward to welcoming her to St Mary’s Hospital, the end point of her walk, and celebrating her incredible achievement.”
Natalie is hoping to raise £10,000 for More Smiles to help build a bigger unit allowing over 200 more children to receive life-saving care at St Mary’s PICU every year. Natalie has already smashed her target, but every penny will continue to go to this fantastic cause.